Page 77 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
P. 77
The Commissioner: I do not understand that. The doors were high up above the waterline. You could not step out into the boats, you know. Mr. Scanlan: No, you could not possibly, my Lord. The Commissioner: They would want either a companion ladder, or rope ladder, or something of the kind. Mr. Scanlan: Yes. Just at the foot of that page it is explained lucidly by Mr. Wilding the provision which they did make. At Question 20476, your Lordship says “Directions by the Captain that these side doors should be opened, and, as I understood, it was suggested in the examination of the witness by, I think, Mr. Scanlan (possibly by Mr. Edwards, I do not know), that if they had been open, people who were either on that deck or could have been brought to that deck, could then have been put into the half-filled boats, and so more lives would have been saved. Now what have you to say to that? - (A.) The door that would most likely be used was this” - he pointed to the model. He means aft. The Commissioner: He pointed about to where the police officer is standing now. Mr. Scanlan: Further aft than that, my Lord, “that door, at which there is an accommodation ladder; that is, a portable sloping ladder is provided just inside the ship opposite this door, which can be slipped on either side, and the order would probably be intended to apply to that door. (The Commissioner.) There is a corresponding door on the other side of the ship? - (A.) There is a door on each side, with a broad passage leading through from one door to the other. If this accommodation ladder was put in position from one of these doors it would be very easy for anyone, even ladies and children, to go down the accommodation ladder to get into the boats in smooth water, which we understand prevailed. There would be no difficulty once the accommodation ladder was rigged, which would be a matter of perhaps half an hour, to use it in that way. (Q.) But we have no evidence at all, as far as I know, that anybody from the ship got into a boat from that doorway? - (A.) I have heard none, my Lord.” The Commissioner: I do not think we even know whether the door was opened. Orders were given to open it. Mr. Scanlan: Orders were given, and I think there is some evidence of the door being opened. Sir Robert Finlay: I do not think so. Mr. Scanlan: I had asked some questions previously on that. There is evidence of Mr. Boxhall at page 337 as to that method of getting the people away from the ship. The Commissioner: This is not a method contemplated of getting people into boats at all, is it? Mr. Scanlan: I think it is, my Lord, yes. The Commissioner: To lower the boats into the water and then fill them by means of a rope ladder or something of that sort? Mr. Scanlan: Or this companion ladder. It is an adjustable ladder which was specially provided for the purpose, Mr. Lightoller says that was his intention. The Commissioner: It is the way you get on board the ship. Mr. Scanlan: Yes, my Lord. When I was visiting with my learned friends the “Olympic” at Southampton, this was pointed out to me as a recognised way for using the boats and getting people into them. Boxhall says at Question 15472 on page 358, “Was any suggestion made of going back? - (A.) There was a suggestion made. I spoke about going back to the sailorman that was in the boat - that was whilst I was pulling round the stern - about going back to the ship, and then I decided that it was very unwise to have attempted it. So we pulled away, and then we did not pull back at all. (The Commissioner.) What did you intend to go back to the ship for? - (A.) I intended to go back to try and obey orders that I heard given through the megaphone. (Q.) Was that to stand by the gangway door, or what? - (A.) I do not know whether it was to stand by the gangway door; I do not remember any gangway doors being open.” The Commissioner: That is not to the point.
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