This paper explores what determines the survival of people in a life-and-death situation. The sinking of the Titanic allows us to inquire whether pro-social behavior matters in such extreme situations. This event can be considered a quasi-natural experiment. The empirical results suggest that social norms such as ‘women and children first’ persevered during such an event. Women of reproductive age and crew members had a higher probability of survival. Passenger class, fitness, group size, and cultural background also mattered.