Page 203 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 23 - 26
P. 203
the eye would fall. We have been told that this iceberg was black, and it has been said that in those circumstances it is very difficult to detect the existence of a berg in time to avoid it. Is that so? - I agree with that, my Lord. I think it would have been a very difficult thing with a ship going at that speed to have done so. 25123. Do you think the speed makes any difference in picking up a thing? - I do not know about picking up, but slower speed gives you a longer time from the time you see it at the same distance. 25124. Of course it does. I did not understand your observation. Now, you know these conditions as they have been described - whether accurately or not I do not know - but they have been described to us. How far off do you think the men in the crow’s-nest, if they had been attending to their business and not talking to each other, ought to have seen this berg? - I would not like to put a definite figure on it, but I should think the men in the crow’s-nest saw that berg about as soon as you would ordinarily expect a man to see it. 25125. That means they saw it just as the ship was striking the berg? - Had not some three minutes elapsed from the time it was reported? The Commissioner: I think not. The Attorney-General: It is rather difficult to say. We know what was done; and we have to estimate the time. 25126. (The Commissioner.) She was right on the berg before any time elapsed? - I should think, my Lord, that in the case of that particular berg it would be a very difficult thing to pick it up at all. A man might have said to his companion, “Do you think you see anything?” but arising out of that I should like to say that all officers, as far as I know, and Captains of ships in modern times, are only too ready to hear reported from the crow’s-nest or wherever it is, any report of any sort even though the light reported is not there. 25127. I am not quite following you I am afraid. Do you want to convey this to me, that that berg would be within 100 feet of the stem of the ship before it would be seen? - No, I should think a berg of that type would be seen somewhere about perhaps three-quarters of a mile away, not more. 25128. Well, three-quarters of a mile - would it be seen less than three-quarters of a mile? - It might be; I do not know. 25129. I am putting 100 feet to you? - I think it ought to be seen long before 100 feet. 25130. What would you say would be the shortest distance that this berg would be seen by the men in the crow’s-nest on a clear night? - The shortest distance from the ship? 25131. Yes, on a perfectly clear night, and under these conditions of a flat sea and possibly black ice? - I would not like to express an opinion, because I have never actually seen a berg as close to a ship. I have never seen any ice quite exactly like that which was described. I have seen it in the winter time in the ice, but then we were always absolutely stationary. 25132. My difficulty is this, and I am afraid you cannot help me, but I cannot understand how the men in the crow’s-nest and the men on the bridge - there were two, I think; one, at all events, on the bridge - failed to see this iceberg until it was practically in contact with the ship? - I think that iceberg was such a very little thing. It was such a small thing and the conditions were so bad, that a man on watch, even two hours on watch, might have his eyes strained, and the officer on watch might have his eyes strained, and might just miss that particular berg. In running round the horizon his eyes might hop over this particular thing. 25133. But there were three pairs of eyes; there was a man on the bridge and two men in the crow’s-nest? - I think that is a possibility. 25134. Is it a probability? - I think it is a probability. I think they might not see such a thing. 25135. Then do you really mean to say that on a fine night with a flat sea the probable thing is that every ship will come in contact with an iceberg that happens to be on its course? - No, my
   198   199   200   201   202   203   204   205   206