Page 165 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
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lowered, as we know for an absolute certainty that the other four boats were subsequently lowered, and of course carried with them a number of women and children. The Commissioner: The capacity of this boat was 40? The Attorney-General: Yes. The Commissioner: And it went away with 12? The Attorney-General: Yes, of which seven were crew. The Commissioner: Was there any other boat that went away with so small a proportion of passengers on board? The Attorney-General: No, my Lord, there was no other boat; and there was no other boat which went away with a larger number of crew than passengers either - none. Well, my Lord, I confess I am quite unable to understand why that boat was lowered in that way, and equally I am unable to understand why no attempt was made by Symons subsequently to save the lives of some at least of the people who were in the water. Now, my Lord, dealing generally with the boats, I am not going through it in detail because your Lordship has the list before you, generally dealing with them, the only boats that took their full complement and even more were four, Nos. 11, 13, 14, and 15, that is the total. Now, my Lord, one has to see why it was, what explanations were given of why these boats were not more fully loaded. In this particular case, of course, it was of supreme importance, because if the boats had been loaded to their full capacity in each case, there would have been so many more lives saved which were lost. Now, my Lord, in the first instance, the one view is that officers superintending the lowering were afraid that the boats would buckle or that the falls would give way. That is one explanation. The second is that there were no more women at hand to get into the boats, or, in any event, no women who were willing to get in. The third is that it was contemplated that more people would be put into the boats when they were in the water from the gangway ladders - that is the explanation I referred to before. Those, I think, are the three explanations of why every boat did not go away at least with its full complement. Now, my Lord, I do think that in this case it strikes one as very regrettable that the officers should have had doubts in their minds as to the buckling of these boats or as to the falls being incapable of bearing the strain of carrying the full complement down, because there is no doubt that a number of boats were lowered into the water with less than their full complement for that reason. That is quite clear. The Commissioner: Is there any satisfactory evidence that they did fear the buckling of the boats? The Attorney-General: There is a statement with regard to it of the witnesses, my Lord. The Commissioner: I know. I mean, what is the statement to that effect? Are we to be led to suppose that these lifeboats are so constructed that they will bear the strain, when hanging from the davits, of the full complement of passengers? The Attorney-General: I should have thought so, my Lord. I should have thought that clearly they were constructed for that purpose. The Commissioner: Then I do not see, if that is so, why you think that the officers should know that, and then I do not know why, especially in this calm sea, there was any fear of the boats buckling. I can well imagine that the passengers, women and children, had inconceivable fear, but I cannot imagine why the officers should have had any fear of it. The Attorney-General: Of course, there is the evidence your Lordship will remember of Mr. Lightoller about it, who himself says that that was his view; and there is also the evidence of one of the men, Poingdestre, who says that the boat was ordered to be lowered because Mr. Lightoller thought the falls would not stand a heavy load. That is the falls. It has just the same effect, of course, but it is not the boats. The Commissioner: It is the same thing. Of course the officers ought to have known that the
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