It’s been nearly 40 years since the Titanic sank and in the process, the ship’s passengers and crew members were left traumatised by the loss.
But now, a young girl from the island of Barbados has found her way into one of the world’s most important museums.
Melissa Lopes and her twin brother David were two of four children who were on board the ship in 1912, just days after the disaster.
“The kids were really frightened,” Melissa told the ABC’s ABC Radio Melbourne program, adding: “We were just looking for something to do, something to watch, something for us to talk about.”
When we first arrived at the ship, we had all these books and magazines that we could see on the windows and in other areas, so we thought that it would be a good idea to pick them up.
“But after an overnight stay on the boat, the Lopeses found they were on the Titanic Museum attraction in Belfast.
The museum was closed at the time but Melissa Lopes says she felt safe because she had a special spot at the museum.
She says she has never been to the Titanic before and her brother David says she didn’t feel scared because he was very comfortable on the ship.
At the time, the Titanic was the largest ship afloat and had about 3,000 people on board.
While in Belfast, the family stayed in the Titanic Hotel, which was just down the road from the Titanic, but the hotel was packed.
After the family returned to Australia, the museum reopened and Melissa Lope says she still feels safe on board, although she is unsure whether it’s because of her memories or because of the new look.
Despite being traumatised, the couple say they still want to share the story with others.
In the months that followed, Melissa says she started to get calls from people in the Northern Ireland area asking her about her experiences on the doomed ship.”
It was quite an emotional time, really quite emotional,” she told ABC Radio.”
I thought that was a bit like a dream.
I’m sure there was a lot of other people that I haven’t talked to in a long time.
“The Lopes family returned home in August 1914 to find the Titanic on fire and the shipmates in the hotel were in shock.
But the Lopses were not the only survivors of the disaster who were not able to make it home.
Two weeks after the Titanic disaster, the survivors of a shipwreck off the coast of England found themselves in a hotel room in Liverpool.
During the next four days, the two survivors tried to communicate with their rescuers and eventually they were able to get to safety.
When the Loves returned to Melbourne, they were surprised to find that the Titanic had been demolished and a memorial plaque was erected on the site of the Titanic.
A plaque commemorating the lives lost at the wreck of the ship was placed at the entrance to the museum on Sunday.
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