Michel Navratil, one of the last known survivors of the sinking of the Titanic, has died in southern France. He was 92.
Navratil, who was 3 years old when the Titantic sank after striking an iceberg in 1912, died Wednesday in Montpellier. He was the last known male survivor of the tragedy, according to the Titanic Historical Society in Springfield, Mass.
"There are only four women left now," said Edward Kamuda, the society's founder.
Navratil and his 2-year-old brother, Edmond, were traveling with their father, who was separated from his wife and had taken his sons on the voyage without her permission.
Navratil described what happened when the ship began to sink: "My father entered our cabin where we were sleeping. He dressed me very warmly and took me in his arms. A stranger did the same for my brother. When I think of it now, I am very moved. They knew they were going to die.
"I don't recall being afraid, I remember the pleasure really, of going plop into the lifeboat."
Navratil and his brother were rescued by the Carpathia, the first ship to reach the scene of the sinking after racing through waters filled with icebergs. Navratil was hauled up the side of the ship in a mail sack.
His father went down with the Titanic. Of the 2,228 people on board, only 705 survived.
'The Orphans of the Titanic'
When the boys reached the United States, they were taken in by a woman who met them aboard the ship. Their mother learned of their survival by reading newspaper reports about the boys, nicknamed "The Orphans of the Titanic" because no adult came forward to claim them.
Kamuda, who also runs the local Titanic museum, met Navratil several times.
"He seemed to be a very quiet individual and was very interested in what people had to say. After all, he was a professor of philosophy," Kamuda told The Associated Press.
Navratil was an honorary member of the society and took part in conventions and other commemorative events. In 1996, the society organized a meeting in Paris with a French woman who occupied the cabin across from him, and who used to play with the little boy.
That year, Navratil was one of a few survivors who went on cruise ships to the site where the Titanic sank to watch research vessels try to lift part of the hull to the surface.