According to the recently recovered passenger records from RMS Titanic, the third class passengers who died when the liner sank were dumped back in the freezing waters so that the bodies belonging to the higher classes could be saved.
The crew of CS Mackay-Bennett, the ship that recovered the majority of bodies from the cold Atlantic waters, was overwhelmed with the operation and they came up with a tough solution — to bring aboard the bodies of first and second class and cast the poorest passengers back into the ocean.
The recovery of the bodies lasted from April until May 1912. The criteria for distinguishing the rich from the poor were the clothes they were wearing, and what they had in their pockets. The Mackay-Bennett crew kept records of what they found on each body, and if it belonged to a first or second class passenger, it was embalmed and stored for the journey back.
Although it sounds cruel, the crew on Mackay-Bennett didn’t bring the decision out of carelessness for the passengers, but because of the circumstances of the time. They had a very limited space while embalming materials were also in short supply.