The biggest difference, Savage concludes, was time. The Lusitania sank in less than 20 minutes. The Titanic took two and a half hours..
“If you’ve got an event that lasts two and a half hours, social order will take over and everybody will behave in a social manner,” Savage says. “If you’re going down in under 17 minutes, basically it’s instinctual.”
On the Titanic, social order ruled and it was women and children first.
On the Lusitania, instinct won out. The survivors were largely the people who could swim and get into the lifeboats.