Page 26 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 1 - 5
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The Commissioner: Now that you say comes to the blue spot? The Attorney-General: Yes. I have now in my hands the “Caronia’s” receipt of the message from the “Titanic” - what I gave just now was the “Baltic.” This is the “Caronia”: “Titanic requires immediate assistance. Been in collision with iceberg. Position: latitude 41° 46’ N., longitude 50° 14’ W.” The Commissioner: You told me 15. The Attorney-General: Yes, I did - that is the spot that has been indicated at the same time. It is a difference of a mile; it is the same thing. Now, my Lord, according to the evidence which we shall call before you, after the receipt of these warnings, so far as we know, no reduction of the speed of 21 knots was made, and she traveled on during the afternoon, and when it became dark on this starry night, with no moon, she was going at a speed of 21 knots when she struck the iceberg. Of course that is a factor the importance of which your Lordship will appreciate, and which I desire to indicate at the earliest moment, so that any explanation that may be available should be given to your Lordship, and also, if there is any denial of the fact, that my friend may have notice that that is a point which I place before the Court as one of extreme importance as affecting this Inquiry. Now, my Lord, the story of what happened immediately before the “Titanic” struck the iceberg is certainly somewhat difficult to give, and I do not propose to be in any way precise about it. I cannot be from the material we have at present, and your Lordship will have to hear the evidence upon it. What I have given now, and the evidence upon which I comment, is evidence which rests really upon documents, except as to speed, upon which we will call evidence which will, I think, place the matter beyond question as far as I understand what has taken place. Now, my Lord, there is also some further evidence. Undoubtedly during that day, Sunday, the 14th April, the temperature was extremely cold. It had been cold during the voyage; it became colder much on this 14th, and as they proceeded on their way till before the happening of the casualty the cold increased. My submission to the Court is that that would be an indication to those responsible for the navigation of the “Titanic.” The Commissioner: Are you talking of the temperature of the air or of the water? The Attorney-General: I am talking of both, my Lord. The cold increased very considerably, and was an indication to those who were responsible for the navigation and were accustomed to the voyages that they were in very close proximity to ice. That is my submission, that this increasing cold, and particularly of the water, was an indication to them of this proximity, more especially when taken in conjunction with the fact that the “Titanic” was then approaching the zone in respect of which she had received the warnings that there were growlers, icebergs, and fields of ice. My Lord, a little before she struck (I cannot give at present more indication than that) the man on the look-out in the crow’s-nest sounded three bells. My Lord, the signal of three bells we understand to be something ahead. The practice apparently is to sound this signal and then to telephone from the crow’s-nest, I imagine to the bridge, but I am going to leave the matter with that indication, because I am not able to speak precisely enough of what happened at that moment; we will wait till the evidence is a little more sifted. Then at that point Mr. Murdoch, who was the Chief Officer of the vessel and was in charge, was on the bridge. The Commissioner: Mr. Attorney, when you say the Chief Officer, I want to know whether you mean the First Officer? The Attorney-General: I was just asking about that, my Lord. I thought he was the Chief Officer, but I am told he was the First Officer. There has been some confusion about it, but I understand he was the First Officer. My Lord, Captain Smith, who was the Captain of the “Titanic,” was, at the actual time of striking, below, not on the bridge; he had gone down to his berth. He was a very experienced Captain in the employment of the White Star Line, and had, in fact, been in charge of the
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