Page 10 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
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Yes. (Q.) And when you first saw it it looked no larger than these two tables? - (A.) No, Sir.’” The passage ends there, I think. In both these passages he describes it as a black mass. Then Lee at page 73 says the same thing at Question 2441 and the two following questions. The Attorney-General puts this question: “What did it look like? It was something which was above the forecastle? - (A.) It was a dark mass that came through that haze, and there was no white appearing until it was just close alongside the ship, and that was just a fringe at the top. (Q.) It was a dark mass that appeared, you say? - (A.) Through this haze, and as she moved away from it there was just a white fringe along the top. That was the only white about it, until she passed by, and then you could see she was white; one side of it seemed to be black, and the other side seemed to be white. When I had a look at it going astern it appeared to be white. (Q.) At that time the ship would be throwing some light upon it; there were lights on your own ship? - (A.) It might have been that.” That is a very probable explanation. Then Lucas speaks to the colour of the fragments of ice that were thrown upon the deck. On page 50, Question 1427, speaking of the ice on the deck, he says, when he is asked what colour it was: “It was a darkish white.” Now, my Lord, a black berg is a very unusual phenomenon indeed. Your Lordship will recollect that Mr. Lightoller, in his evidence, when referring to the description that had been given of the berg, said that he thought it must have been recently capsized. Then there was a very interesting piece of evidence given by Captain Cannons further on, when he told us that on one occasion he had seen an iceberg capsize. It had been a white object, the ordinary iceberg, perfectly white. It turned over, and then he had a black mass presented to him for the only time in his experience. There are four witnesses who deal with this point. Captain Cannons is at page 667, and at question 23762 your Lordship asks the Witness: “Have you seen black ice? - (A.) No, my Lord; I have not seen black ice, but the ice varies considerably in its appearance. (Q.) Have you seen many icebergs? - (A.) Yes, my Lord. (Q.) And you have never seen a black iceberg? - (A.) No.” Then at page 668 the same Witness is asked at Question 23804: “Have you ever seen a black berg? - (A.) No. (Q.) In your experience are icebergs dark or black? - (A.) I have seen them much darker. Might I explain an experience of mine some years ago, which will give you possibly an idea of the difference in the colour.” I need not read again the account of the capsizing of the iceberg, because it was given so dramatically that I am sure it is in the memory of everyone. The Commissioner: He describes the colour as dark blue. Sir Robert Finlay: Yes, that was in daylight, of course, my Lord. Then at Question 23810 he is asked: “Have you ever seen another iceberg of that dark colour? - (A.) No, only that one that capsized. (Q.) Where there is a swell or a little wind, does the water break at the foot of the berg? - (A.) Oh, yes. (Q.) Now, supposing you had a dark blue berg such as you have described, dark in colour, what would the effect of the water breaking at the foot of it, with a swell or wind, be, as regards what you would see? - (A.) Well, it would show white at the base. (Q.) But in your experience the bergs have been white except with this one exception? - (A.) With the exception of this one which I saw in daylight and noticed the difference in the colour, all of them have been discernible at nighttime, and, of course, in the day.” Then Captain Passow, at page 571, Question 21882; your Lordship puts this question to him: “If you are right, and if this was, as we have been told by a great many witnesses it was - a perfectly clear night - how do you account for the collision? - (A.) I cannot account for it at all. They say it looked like a black iceberg, but I have never seen a black iceberg.” Captain Passow, of course, was a man of great experience in the Atlantic: “I never saw anything but a white one, and that you can see on the darkest night. You can see field ice, too, on the darkest night in time enough for you to get out of the way of it. (Q.) We have had an explanation given of it by Mr.
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