Page 207 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
P. 207
two miles away; that was the one we saw at about a quarter to three, with the streak of the star. That was the first one we picked up; it was a large one. (Q.) That one we understand, but this last one that you saw about 4 o’clock. When you were getting ready to pick up the boat on the port side, was there anything at all special about the colour of that iceberg? - (A.) No, but I suppose it must have been because of the shadow or something of that kind, that we could not make it out before. I cannot account for it. (Q.) Does it sometimes happen? - (A.) Yes, very often. (Q.) It may be the iceberg presents to you a luminous appearance? - (A.) Yes. (Q.) Or it may be it presents to you a dark appearance? - (A.) Exactly. (Q.) That is what you would ordinarily expect when you are looking out for icebergs, is it? - (A.) Yes. (Q.) You cannot tell from which side you are going to see it? - (A.) No. (Q.) Or how it is going to present itself to you in appearance? - (A.) No. (Q.) So that if I follow what you have said, you would always have to be prepared for an iceberg which presented a dark appearance to those who were looking out for it? - (A.) Yes. (The Commissioner.) I do not understand where the shadow comes from; there is nothing to create a shadow. There were no clouds in the sky? - (A.) No, my Lord, there were no clouds, but the shape of the iceberg itself might account for it. Now, this iceberg was about 30 feet high and the sides were rather precipitous. If the side had been more of a slope, do not you think that slope would have given off some shadow. If you have a greater surface and there is anything in the theory about ‘blink,’ you would have more blink if you had a greater surface, and so you might have a dark place if the iceberg itself had a crevice in it or a break. I can imagine that, but I do not know where the shadow comes from. (The Attorney-General.) I do not profess to know sufficiently about it. It may depend upon the angle of refraction - I do not profess to be able to explain it better than that. (To the Witness.) At what speed were you going when you saw this iceberg about a quarter of a mile from you? - (A.) I should think we were making something about 15; the engines had been stopped for about three minutes - probably between 13 and 15 knots at the time. (Q.) But slowing all the time? - (A.) Oh, it was slowing all the time - yes”; and so on. I do not think I need read any more upon that page. Then I turn on to page 745, the very first Question on that page. The Attorney-General: I think, Sir Robert, you might read the next three or four questions. Sir Robert Finlay: On page 743? The Attorney-General: Yes. You broke off for a moment to go to something else, and then you got back to the iceberg. You will find it at the bottom, at 25470. Sir Robert Finlay: I will read it with pleasure. “25470. Will you tell me, when you starboarded, how close did you get to the iceberg? - (A.) When daylight broke I consider the iceberg was then a little under a quarter of a mile away. (Q.) I am not quite sure that we have got it correctly yet. When you saw this iceberg I rather understood that it was then about a quarter of a mile away from you? - (A.) Between a quarter and half a mile. (Q.) Then you say, although your engines had stopped and had been stopped for something like three minutes, you were still making somewhere about 13 to 15 knots? - (A.) Yes. (Q.) Then I want to know how close it was - you had an iceberg within your range of vision, then - you went to the iceberg when you starboarded? - (A.) This was the boat over here. (Describing.) I did not know the distance off. Here was the iceberg right ahead. I was coming along there; I saw the iceberg right ahead here, and I saw the light was on my port bow. Of course, I could not see the boat itself, but only the light when he showed the flare. I came along here and starboarded, and brought her here. Then I saw the light on my starboard side. I saw the light showing; it was getting close. I went full speed astern. I went a little bit past the boat before I could get the way off the ship, and I came back again, because they sang out from the boat that they had only one seaman, and could not handle her. I brought the ship back to the boat. When the boat was alongside of me daylight broke, and I found the berg was about a quarter of a mile off. (Q.) Had you been any closer to the berg than that? - (A.) No, that was the closest I had been. (Q.) That answers what I wanted to know.
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