Only The Wealthy Passengers' Corpses Were Salvaged From The Titanic
The sinking of the RMS Titanic on April 14, 1912 claimed the lives of 1,514 people. The CS Mackay-Bennett was tasked with retrieving the bodies of the victims. Of the 1,514 casualties, only 337 bodies were ever found, and the Mackay-Bennett was responsible for 306 of those. This number still proved too high, however, and the Mackay-Bennett soon ran out of embalming supplies. This was a huge problem for the crew, because according to the health laws of the day, only embalmed bodies could be returned to shore ... which meant that unless a solution was found, the Mackay-Bennett couldn't return to port.
Captain F.W. Lardner made a decision based on stone-cold logic, and decreed that only the bodies of first-class and second-class passengers (as identified by their clothing) would be embalmed. The third-class passengers, as well as the ship's crew, would be given a burial at sea.
Of the 306 people recovered, 97 third-class passengers and crew were consigned to the deep, while 209 second- and first-class passengers were brought back to Halifax and into the care of their mourning families. When questioned about why only the wealthier passengers were brought back, especially given that this could've been decided by a blind lottery, Captain Lardner replied that they were given priority because their bodies might be needed to settle disputes over estates: