Page 166 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
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boats and the falls would stand the strain. I cannot help thinking that the real reason was that they could not induce any more people to get in at the time. Did Mr. Lowe stop people getting into the boat? The Attorney-General: Certainly his view was that he was taking risks. I do not think that he stopped them. The Commissioner: Is there any evidence that Mr. Lowe actually stopped people from getting into the boat when it was not full? The Attorney-General: I do not think he says that. I do not remember his saying it. The Commissioner: Did Mr. Lightoller say it? The Attorney-General: Mr. Lightoller’s view certainly was that it was not safe for the boat. The Commissioner: He had no business to have such an idea. The Attorney-General: I think it was deplorable of course for any officer to take that view with regard to the lifeboats, which are there for that very purpose, that the officers should not have known the number of persons to be carried. Each of these lifeboats would have carried 65 persons as lifeboats, and indeed some of the boats went away carrying 70, and those who were in the boats were saved. The Commissioner: One boat, I think, was lowered with something like 70. The Attorney-General: Yes, No. 11, some say 70, and some say 74. Mr. Laing: Seventy may not be accurate. We do not know. The Attorney-General: I agree; of course it is very difficult to say exactly how many there were, and I do not think anyone could say with precision how many were saved and how many were in each boat. But at least we do know this, that 70 to 75 is the effect of the evidence, and this boat, No. 11, seems to have carried the largest number. No. 15 was said to have carried 70; there was a good deal of evidence about that. I have before me just now Mr. Lowe’s evidence about it. I do not think he said anybody was stopped. His view was that he was putting people in, and that he thought he was taking risk in doing it; and I did call your Lordship’s attention when I was dealing with boat No. 1 to what he had said in dealing with passengers on the starboard side; but in this connection Mr. Lightoller’s evidence is at page 314, and at Question 13883 he deals with this question, “Was boat No. 6 filled? - (A.) It was filled with a reasonable regard to safety. I did not count the people going in.” That seems to be the extraordinary view or opinion he formed. “But you exercised your judgment about it? - (A.) Yes. (Q.) It was filled as much as you thought was safe in the circumstances? - (A.) Yes. (Q.) In your judgment, is it possible to fill these lifeboats when they are hanging as full as you might fill them when they are water-borne? - (A.) Most certainly not.” The Commissioner: Then he is wrong about that? The Attorney-General: Absolutely wrong, according to everybody’s opinion. Then your Lordship asks, “Is that due to the weak construction of the lifeboats, or to the insufficiency of the falls? - (A.) A brand-new fall, I daresay, would have lowered the boats down and carried the weight, but it would hardly be considered a seamanlike proceeding, as far as the sailor side of it goes, but I certainly should not think that the lifeboats would carry it without some structural damage being done - buckling or something like that. (Q.) And had you those considerations in mind in deciding how many people should go in the boat? - (A.) Yes,” and then my learned friend, the Solicitor-General, who was examining him referred him to Poingdestre’s evidence upon it, to which I called your Lordship’s attention just now, but here it is and the convenient thing will be just to refer your Lordship to Poingdestre’s evidence. It is at page 83 he is asked, “Do you know how it comes that there were not more than 42 put into this boat? - (A.) Yes.” (That is boat No. 6, that is the boat constructed, of course, to carry 65, he says.) “Well, the reason is that the falls would not carry any more. (Q.) You mean somebody was frightened of the falls? - (A.)Yes, the Second Officer, Mr. Lightoller. “Did you say anything aloud about it” -
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