Page 61 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
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knowledge and appreciation of the fact that a haze might be expected to arise locally in the circumstances in which they were. At page 327 he is asked this, at Question 14335: “At all events, it was more difficult then than under normal circumstances to see an iceberg. You observed that yourself from six to ten” - and his answer is “Yes.” The Commissioner: That had nothing to do with haze. Mr. Scanlan: No, my Lord, but it at all events had to do with the peculiar atmospheric conditions in which he and those responsible for the navigation of the ship found themselves between 10 and 12 o’clock, and even between 8 and 10 o’clock, and I think it right to call your Lordship’s attention to it. The Commissioner: I do not know whether you have overlooked it, but there is Mr. Lightoller’s evidence on page 322. Mr. Scanlan: I have that. The Commissioner: Then you will have to go back if you are coming to it. You are not taking it in its order. Mr. Scanlan: It deals with the weather conditions. The Commissioner: No, it deals with this question of haze. Mr. Scanlan: Yes, my Lord. The Commissioner: He says this: “No reference to what the weather had been after 10 o’clock. - (A.) No. The weather was perfectly clear when I came on deck after the accident, and the slightest degree of haze on the surface of the water would have been very noticeable, or, rather, I might put it the other way: It is proved that there was no haze by some of the boats noticing from the waterline this vessel’s lights. I think that has been mentioned, and if there had been the slightest degree of haze they would not have seen them.” Mr. Scanlan: Yes, my Lord, and then it goes on: “As far as you saw, did you see any change in the weather conditions at all while you were working, helping to get these boats out? - (A.) Absolutely none. (Q.) Right up to the time the ship went down is it your view that the conditions were the same as they were between 6 and 10? - (A.) Precisely. (Q.) Can you suggest at all how it can have come about that this iceberg should not have been seen at a greater distance? - (A.) 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. (The Commissioner.) When you make a general statement of that kind I want you to particularise. What were the circumstances? - (A.) I was going to give them, my Lord. In the first place there was no moon. (Q.) That is frequently the case? - (A.) 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. (Q.) 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.” I think in one passage of the evidence which I have read he did say that it was flat and known to be flat at the time. The Commissioner: What was flat? Mr. Scanlan: That the sea was flat. The Commissioner: Yes, he said that frequently. Mr. Scanlan: Yes, and that there was no breeze, and this is the first time the suggestion is made by him that he did not know until afterwards that there was no swell.
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