Like many White Star liners, Britannic was accident prone.
Late on the afternoon on 19 May 1887, White Star Line’s Celtic (1872), steaming toward New York, collided with fleetmate Britannic, bound for Liverpool, in thick fog about 350 miles east of Sandy Hook, New Jersey. The two liners struck at almost right angles. Celtic’s bow dived some 10 feet into Britannic, port side aft. Celtic then fell back and struck Britannic two more times before sliding past the vessel.
Six Britannic steerage passengers were killed immediately; another six were never found and are presumed to have been washed overboard. There were no deaths on board Celtic.
Although her lifeboats were launched, Britannic remained afloat. After several hours afloat several lifeboats were rowed back to the damaged liner; Celtic retrieved the others.
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