MythBusters solve Titanic mystery

2012-10-09 11:11
Cape Town – One of popular culture's most enduring mysteries has finally been solved: Could both Rose and Jack in the epic film Titanic have survived? The Discovery Channel's MythBusters show did the research and experiments to finally find the surprising answer.

It's exactly 100 years since the sinking of the Titanic and the MythBusters presenters Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman finally decided to recreate the circumstances in the icy cold Atlantic ocean from the blockbuster movie in which Rose is on a wooden board (and barely survives) with Jack clinging on the side until he dies from hypothermia and sinks.

The question of whether both Jack and Rose could have survived if they did something differently – like both stayed on the wooden board and tied her life jacket underneath the board – is the most requested myth the show has ever received.

Titanic director James Cameron appeared in the episode to explain that even he is uncertain and wanted to find out if his blockbuster film got it right or wrong, and whether both Jack and Rose could have lived.

The surprising answer is… yes.

MythBusters built what they called ThermoMan, a dummy with gelatine flesh and a water-heated cardiovascular system which was dropped into freezing water and determined that Jack would have died after 51 minutes in the frigid Atlantic. He would not have been able to hold on to the board and would have sunk exactly as in the movie.

Full-scale test

Doing a full-scale test on an exact replica of the board from the movie in water with one person wearing a customised life jacket from the period, the board would have sunk too deep into the water and both would have frozen if two people tried to get on it.

However, if the life jacket was fastened underneath the board, it would still have sunk with two people on top, although 80% of their bodies would have been out of the water.

It would however have taken multiple attempts for two people to get and remain on the board and not topple over or slide off.

That would have given both 63 minutes before they died of hypothermia. "It's plausible that both Jack and Rose could have survived on the board if they'd MacGyvered her life jacket," said Hyneman.

James Cameron said the MythBusters missed the point a bit. "Jack died. He has to die. So maybe we screwed up and the board should have been a little tiny bit smaller, but the dude's going down."

Watch a clip from the MythBusters show here:


  • sunith.varkey - 2012-10-09 11:43

    Jack knew how wrinkly Rose would get in the future so he wasn't keen on living

      Franklyn Davies - 2014-02-07 16:14


  • petrus.ngwenya.3 - 2012-10-09 11:52

    Maybe Rose took out life insurance on Jack the moment she fell for him?

      rob.gunning.1 - 2012-10-09 13:02

      As one does.

      preshen.govender.90 - 2012-10-09 16:10

      At least he died a stiff man

  • Ze Don - 2012-10-09 12:15

    He probably committed suicide... I know I was after 194 minutes of Titanic I was!

      Lyndatjie - 2012-10-09 13:15

      LMAO! Epic comment!

      kerryann.holtzhausen - 2012-10-09 15:16

      Dude, that was funny. Bwahahahahahahah!!!!!!!!!!

      mable.jacobs.90 - 2012-10-09 16:09

      Thanks Ze Don, funny stuff

      albert.m.burger - 2012-10-09 22:18

      A mercy killing

  • Bruce - 2012-10-09 13:25

    White people have too much time on their hands...

      kingdom.ndlovu.1 - 2012-10-09 15:09

      black people have too much crime on theirs hands...

      kent.paulsen.79 - 2012-10-09 15:46

      Yes it is called African Time.

      thadelphukem.completely - 2012-10-09 16:04

      @Kingdom... That was brilliant!!! Bwahahahahahahaha Go get yourself a bells...

      mable.jacobs.90 - 2012-10-09 16:10

      I wish people would not waste time responding to this kind of crap. Up yours Bruce

  • hugo.williams.391 - 2012-10-09 15:12

    If you watch the titanic in reverse it's about a magical boat that saves people..

  • mark.webb.50 - 2012-10-09 15:24

    I used to enjoy Mythbusters until they started trying to disprove movies, are they going to go after Planet of the Apes next, they are movies not documentaries

      merven.halo - 2012-10-10 08:26

      They can use Zimbabwe and Mugabe as starting point.

  • aniki.vanderzandt - 2012-10-09 15:25

    I wish they'd re do the movie and this time make them both live.. It bothers me TO THIS DAY...!

      ethan.pugh.92 - 2012-10-10 02:43

      I watched Titanic 2 - its almost what you want. However, its such a poor flick, its the only 2 hours of my life I want back. Titanic can be over in 3 mins. Sail the ship, sink the ship, the end!

      john.zen.33 - 2012-10-10 12:51

      Haha Eldon...I'm still laughing.

  • evan.connock - 2012-10-09 15:59

    Actually Iwent through a phase where I found Leo De Caprio just plain annoying... It was at this time that I felt the only thing wrong with the epic movie Titanic was the scene where Leo is handcuffed to a railing and the ship is allready sinking... They should have let him drown right there... LOL... Alas they do not make movies theway we want them made, having said that I have found a new respect for the actor, partcilarly after he did such a great job in Blood Diamond.

  • flysouth - 2012-10-09 16:31

    Somewhat irrelevant research since the movie is fiction and the director himself says it-'the dude's going down' LOL

  • kurtmaurice.roman - 2012-10-10 07:35

    Jack stayed in the water to stabilize the board that Rose was on.

  • riotousr - 2012-10-10 08:59

    As all Jacks go so did this one.

  • dewalds3 - 2012-10-10 11:30

    I am glad that I now know THAT!

  • lilia.atanasova.56 - 2012-10-10 12:26

    The point here is that, would either of them have thought to do any or all of these things to survive?

  • wim.kotze.5 - 2012-10-10 14:46

    No it's interesting research and a welcome break from all the morbid articles.Not sure why it's touted as a "mistake" in the movie. Jack and Rose did not think of it, as simple as that. If the characters were all knowing and perfect (and wanted to live) they would not have boarded the Titanic.

      wim.kotze.5 - 2012-10-10 14:47

      Oh and the best thing about these articles is the comments they get.

  • adrianziller - 2012-10-10 15:20

    am i the only one who is concerned for the sanity of the 'presenter' of the video link? Wow! You never go full retard.

  • - 2012-10-10 23:57

    Do you lot realise that the sinking of the Titanic was a real event? Ant that over 1,000 people lost their lives? The story of Jack and Rose maybe played out many times in this disaster, yet you loy maintain a typical glib SA chirp about a tragic event. No wonder this country has so many problems. SMH.

      richard.grossi.7 - 2012-10-11 08:28

      oh get a life .. excuse the pun

  • terry.burne - 2012-10-11 08:20

    I have seen bits and pieces of the movie but never the whole thing - seems like it was time well saved. The mythbusters test - seems a bit pointless! This article - not worth the time taken to write it! The comments - Priceless!!!

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