Page 161 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 10 -13
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nothing;” but he is invariably told, “Never you mind; if you suspect that you see anything strike the bell, no matter how often.” 14297. Let me read this to you from the evidence of the look-out man Fleet, when he was examined in America. He is asked by Senator Smith: “Suppose you had had glasses such as you had on the ‘Oceanic’, or such as you had between Belfast and Southampton, could you have seen the black object a greater distance? - (Mr. Fleet.) We could have seen it a bit sooner. (Senator Smith.) How much sooner? - (Mr. Fleet.) Well, enough to get out of the way.” Do you agree with that? The Commissioner: I see it is referred to there as a black object. Mr. Scanlan: Yes, my Lord; that is the language of Senator Smith in the question. The Commissioner: But I should think - I do not know - that Senator Smith had heard the word “black” previously. Mr. Scanlan: Yes, my Lord; I am taking this as detached and putting it as being in the witness’ evidence. The Solicitor-General: Lee called it “a dark mass.” 14298. (Mr. Scanlan - To the Witness.) From the evidence you gave to the Court yesterday at what distance ahead do you think you yourself in the peculiar conditions which prevailed on this Sunday night could have picked out an iceberg? - About a mile and a half to two miles. 14299. Do you mean by the naked eye? - Yes. 14300. And with glasses could you discern it at a greater distance? - Most probably. 14301. (The Commissioner.) I do not follow the answer? - I meant to convey (it is rather a difficult question to answer) that we do not have the glasses to our eyes all the time, and naturally I should see it with my eyes first. If I happened to be looking directly ahead at the moment an iceberg came in view and I had the glasses to my eyes at that particular moment it is possible I should see it, whereas I should not have seen it quite as soon with my eyes. 14302. Apparently binoculars are placed in a bag or a box in the crow’s-nest at times. At the time of the accident it is said there were no binoculars on the “Titanic” in the crow’s-nest; is that true? - That there were none? 14303. No, is it true that there is a place for them in the crow’s-next? - I believe so. 14304. Then, presumably, it is intended that they should be there? - Yes. 14305. We are told you know they were not there this night? - Yes. 14306. And they are there to be used, I suppose? - Yes. 14307. When they are being used in the crow’s-nest are they used in the sense of being always held up by the look-out man to his eyes, or are they merely had recourse to as occasion seems to suggest? - That is it, your Lordship. 14308. The man on the look-out is not always standing with the binoculars up to his eyes? - No, certainly not. 14309. They are there for use when he thinks it desirable to use them? - Precisely. You see, if I may point out, binoculars, with regard to lights, are extremely useful; that is to say, there is no doubt you will distinguish a light quicker. If you set a man to look out for a certain light, and he reports a light it is quite a matter for us to ring him up on the telephone and ask, “What character is that light?” The man may, on a clear night, see the reflection of the light before it comes above the horizon. It may be the loom of the light and you see it sometimes sixty miles away. He may just make sure of it with the glasses, because there is any amount of time - hours; there is no hurry about them on a clear night at all. You make absolutely certain then about the light, and so as to be in that position we ring him up to say exactly what it is; but when it comes to derelict wrecks or icebergs, the man must not hesitate a moment, and on the first suspicion, before he has time to put his hand to the glasses or anything, one, two, or three bells must be immediately struck, and then he can go ahead with his glasses and do what he likes, but he must report first on
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