Page 153 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 10 -13
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same as they were between 6 and 10? - Precisely. 14197. Can you suggest at all how it can have come about that this iceberg should not have been seen at a greater distance? - It is very difficult indeed to come to any conclusion. Of course, we know now the extraordinary combination of circumstances that existed at that time which you would not meet again once in 100 years; that they should all have existed just on that particular night shows, of course, that everything was against us. 14198. (The Commissioner.) When you make a general statement of that kind I want you to particularise: What were the circumstances? - I was going to give them, my Lord. In the first place, there was no moon. 14199. That is frequently the case? - Very - I daresay it had been the last quarter or the first quarter. Then there was no wind, not the slightest breath of air. And most particular of all in my estimation is the fact, a most extraordinary circumstance, that there was not any swell. Had there been the slightest degree of swell I have no doubt that berg would have been seen in plenty of time to clear it. 14200. Wait a minute: No moon, no wind, no swell? - The moon we knew of, the wind we knew of, but the absence of swell we did not know of. You naturally conclude that you do not meet with a sea like it was, like a table top or a floor, a most extraordinary circumstance, and I guarantee that 99 men out of 100 could never call to mind actual proof of there having been such an absolutely smooth sea. 14201. But the swell got up later on? - Yes, almost immediately; after I was in the water I had not been on the raft, the upturned boat, more than half an hour or so before a slight swell was distinctly noticeable. 14202. We hear of one lady having been very sea-sick? - In the morning there was quite a breeze and we maintained our equilibrium with the greatest difficulty when the rough sea came towards us, and before we got the lifeboat alongside the “Carpathia” - I am pretty familiar with boats. 14203. Do not let me interrupt you; you were going to particularise the circumstances which you say combined to bring about this calamity. There was no moon, no wind, and no swell; is there anything else? - The berg into which we must have run in my estimation must have been a berg which had very shortly before capsized, and that would leave most of it above the water practically black ice. 14204. You think so? - I think so, or it must have been a berg broken from a glacier with the blue side towards us, but even in that case, had it been a glacier there would still have been the white outline that Captain Smith spoke about, with a white outline against, no matter how dark a sky, providing the stars are out and distinctly visible, you ought to pick it out in quite sufficient time to clear it at any time. That is to say, providing the stars are out and providing it is not cloudy. You must remember that all the stars were out and there was not a cloud in the sky, so that at any rate there was bound to be a certain amount of reflected light. Had it been field ice, had we been approaching field ice, of more or less extent, looking down upon it it would have been very visible. You would have been able to see that field ice five miles away, I should think. Had it been a normal iceberg with three sides and the top white with just a glimpse of any of the white sides they would have shown sufficient reflected light to have been noticeable a mile and a half or two miles distant. The only way in which I can account for it is that this was probably a berg which had overturned as they most frequently do, which had split and broken adrift; a berg will split into different divisions, into halves perhaps, and then it becomes top-heavy, and at the same time as it splits you have what are often spoken of as explosions and the berg will topple over. That brings most of the part that has been in the water above the water. 14205. Is there any other circumstance you wish to point out? - No, I think that is all. 14206. Just let us put that together. It is dark, in the sense that there is no moon, with a bright,
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