Page 51 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 1 - 5
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437. That was not till later on? - No. 438. You succeeded in rescuing no passengers? - No. 439. Now, after seeing there was no chance of rescuing passengers, what did you do; did you remain there or did you sail away in any direction, or row, or what? - Mr. Lowe ordered four of the boats to tie together by the painters. He told the men that were in charge of them, the seamen there, what the object was. He said, “If you are tied together and keep all together, if there is any passing steamer they will see a large object like that on the water quicker than they would a small one.” During the time that was going on - we intended to make fast ourselves, of course, with the four - we heard cries coming from another direction. Mr. Lowe decided to transfer the passengers that we had, so many in each boat, and then make up the full crew; it did not matter whether it was sailors or anything, and make up the full crew and go in the direction of those cries and see if we could save anybody else. The boats were made fast and the passengers were transferred, and we went away and went among the wreckage. When we got to where the cries were we were amongst hundreds, I should say, of dead bodies floating in lifebelts. 440. Was it dark then? - Yes. 441. Still dark? - Yes, and the wreckage and bodies seemed to be all hanging in one cluster. When we got up to it we got one man, and we got him in the stern of the boat - a passenger it was, and he died shortly after we got him into the boat. One of the stewards that was in the boat tried means to restore life to the man; he loosed him and worked his limbs about and rubbed him; but it was of no avail at all, because the man never recovered after we got him into the boat. We got two others then as we pushed our way towards the wreckage, and as we got towards the centre we saw one man there. I have since found out he was a storekeeper; he was on top of a staircase; it seemed to be a large piece of wreckage anyhow which had come from some part of the ship. It was wood anyhow. It looked like a staircase. He was kneeling there as if he was praying, and at the same time he was calling for help. When we saw him we were about from here to that wall away from him, and the boats, the wreckage were that thick - and I am sorry to say there were more bodies than there was wreckage - it took us a good half-hour to get that distance to that man to get through the bodies. We could not row the boat; we had to push them out of the way and force our boat up to this man. But we did not get close enough to get him right off - only just within the reach of an oar. We put out an oar on the fore-part of the boat, and he got hold of it, and he managed to hold on, and we got him into the boat. Those three survived. There was one dead in our boat, and that was the passenger, the first one we picked up. 442. You got four on board, one of whom died - is that it? - Yes, that is correct. 443. And three were saved? - Yes. 444. What did you do after that? - We made sail and sailed back to take our other boats in tow that could not manage themselves at all. We made sail then, but just as we were getting clear of the wreckage we sighted the “Carpathia’s” lights. 445. Then what did you do; did you go back to the four other boats? - Yes, we went back to the four other boats. On our way back we saw one of our patent rafts. 446. (The Commissioner.) What is a patent raft? - I can give the details of the construction of it. These are air boxes with a seat construction on them, and on the top of them there is a sort of canvas bulwark. It is not a Berthon boat at all; it is not collapsible. It is constructed, and there is a canvas bulwark to it. This one we saw was awash. There seemed to be about 18 or 20 people on it. I particularly took notice of two women that were there, and we made straight for them first and got them off and got them into our boat. 447. How many? - I will not be exact to the number, but I think there would be about 20, because we were under sail at the time. My attention was directed to the sail while the officer manoeuvred the boat alongside this raft. 448. How many on the raft were women? - I only noticed two.
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