He Could've Escaped the Titanic. Instead He Died a Hero

Sante Righini gave up his seat in a lifeboat
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 11, 2017 5:39 PM CDT
He Could've Escaped the Titanic. Instead He Died a Hero
The Titanic leaves Southampton, England, on April 10, 1912.   (AP Photo)

Like 1,500 others, Sante Righini went down with the Titanic on April 15, 1912. But his was a heroic end, his sister explained at his funeral. The 28-year-old Italian-born man—who boarded the ship in France alongside the wealthy widow who employed him as a manservant in Manhattan—had been moments from safety, about to take a seat in a lifeboat, "when a woman behind him appealed to be saved and, stepping aside, he allowed her to take a place in the boat," Righini's sister said at the 1912 service, per the New York Daily News. "When last seen he was standing on the deck, waiting for the ship to sink." His body was pulled from Atlantic days later, but what became of it was lost to history—until now.

After learning of Righini, British researcher Trevor Baxter received a tip earlier this year that he might've been laid to rest at Evergreens Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY. An entry in a yellowed, century-old log book at Evergreens confirmed his body arrived on May 4, 1912, and was buried at the back of the cemetery. Righini's place of death was given as "Sea. SS Titanic." "It's amazing to know that there’s someone here that died on the Titanic," says a cemetery clerk. Baxter adds he's "over the moon" to have tracked Righini down. In other Titanic news, CBS News reports a first-class passenger's gold locket, recently found on the ocean floor, will go on display in Las Vegas this week to mark the 105th anniversary of the disaster. (You'll soon be able to visit the Titanic.)

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