Page 100 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
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occurs to me about that, Mr. Scanlan, is this, that the order was, and I suppose quite a proper order, that women and children were to go first. Now it appears to me that you might have great difficulty indeed in putting the women and children down a rope ladder hanging from these gangway doors. That might be a very difficult thing to do.” The Commissioner: In point or fact, not a single person was put into the boats from the gangway doors. Mr. Holmes: I am coming to that, my Lord, in a moment. The plan adopted was that all the women in sight on every occasion were got into the boats, and then the boats were lowered away. That is borne out to a great extent by the boat list. If you look at the numbers of passengers in the boats which were not full, they were practically all women. In a few cases there are two or three, or, I think, as many as half a dozen male passengers, in those boats which were not full. The intention was to get the men in through the gangway doors. Orders were given to that effect, and the men who received the orders presumably went away to carry them out, but they never came back to report. And in point of fact, there was no time for the officers to go from the boat deck to the gangway doors to complete the work which they intended the boats to do. Mr. Lightoller himself had not finished the getting away of the collapsible boats before he was absolutely washed into the water himself, and ran a very near risk of drowning. Boat No. 1, which had only 12 people in it, perhaps calls for a little more particular comment, and the explanation of that, I think, is found in Mr. Lowe’s evidence at page 368, Question 15896. The Commissioner: That has been explained, you know. That boat was directed to stand by the ship. Mr. Holmes: Yes, my Lord. The Commissioner: Apparently it was not contemplated that it would go away with only 12 people in it. Mr. Holmes: No, my Lord. Perhaps I may refer your Lordship to two sentences: “I do not know how many there were. I took everybody that was there: that is all I know.” Then at Question 15900: “(Q.) You did not, for instance, send over to the port side to find if there were any women or children? - (A.) No, because I wanted to get the boats away. I did not have any time to waste. (Q.) And you did not send down to any of the lower decks? - (A.) There was nobody on the next deck. I stopped the boat there and asked them to look. (Q.) Or on any of the lower decks? - (A.) I do not know about that. I stopped the lowering of the boat at A deck, and told the men to have a look there, and they saw nobody.” And then he gave the order to stand by the ship. That is all I have to submit to your Lordship on the question of the boats not being properly filled with their proper complement. Further, I cannot call it a charge, but a suggestion was made that the officers ought to have known the capacity of these boats as far as the number of persons they would carry. Mr. Scanlan raised that point on Friday in his address, but it does not seem to me to be a very serious one. A boat may by a computation on a scale be said to be sufficient for a certain number of people, but it does not necessarily follow that it will hold that number of persons, and in any case it is impossible at a time of crisis of this kind for one officer at a boat 30 feet long being lowered in as great a hurry as possible to count every person that gets into that boat. Even when the boats were in the water, the officers have told us that they had difficulty in finding out exactly the number of their passengers; they counted heads as long as they could, but they were so crowded together in some cases that it was impossible to get any accurate number. The Commissioner: And in truth they were thinking about other matters. Mr. Holmes: And they were thinking about other matters. On that I think I might refer to Rule No. 3 of these Life-Saving Appliances Rules which provides for the capacity of these boats. It arrives at the holding capacity by dividing the cubic capacity by 10 in the case of boats of the A
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