Page 168 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
P. 168
to be lowered with about forty. The Attorney-General: Thirty-eight, my Lord. The Commissioner: I do not see why they should wish to construct a boat for the purpose of carrying sixty people, if it is only to be used for the purpose of carrying forty. (After a short adjournment.) The Attorney-General: My Lord, I have said all that I desire to say about the buckling of the boats, or the suggested weakness of the falls - that they were not of sufficient strength to carry boats with their full complements. I want to call attention now to the evidence and I shall only do so very generally, because I think it has been so very fully explained during the course of this Enquiry. The second reason to which I referred, why there were not more passengers in the boats, was that the order had been given that women and children only were to be placed in the boats, and that there was a difficulty in getting women and children to go into the boats. There are a great many passages in the evidence, but I do not expect that your Lordship would desire me to go through that, as that is a matter upon which there can be no controversy. The Commissioner: I think not. The Attorney-General: If your Lordship pleases. The same observations would apply to the evidence which has been given about the gangway. That is the third suggested reason why there were not more passengers placed in the boats, because it was contemplated that this gangway would be opened and that they would be able to recall the boats to put more passengers in them. It simply remains as a suggestion; nothing was done, as your Lordship knows, with regard to it; and I gather from the evidence also that if it had been necessary to do it, it would have taken a considerable amount of time to open this gangway door and presumably to fit the gangway so as to lower the gangway and let the passengers down by it into the boats. The next thing that I desire to direct attention to, and that very shortly, is why it was that there were not more passengers picked up by the boats after the vessel had foundered? There are four reasons given for that through the evidence. The first was that the persons in the boats were afraid of being swamped by others attempting to board them; that I have already commented upon. The second was that there was a danger of suction; the third that the boats were told to pull for a light and were too far away to return (that only applies to some of the boats); and the fourth was that the boats were not well enough manned to make their way back to the ship with any hope of being useful. That was thrown out as an explanation of why some of the boats did not go back. It occurs to me that the last one is a very unsatisfactory explanation, because there does not seem to be any reason why they should not have been able to get back, assuming that they had remained only within a short distance of the “Titanic.” The evidence upon that is somewhat voluminous, but I cannot think again that any useful purpose is served by travelling in detail through that, as these four reasons are sufficiently well established by the evidence. It seems to me, to make it unnecessary for me to travel through it in detail, and to call your Lordship’s attention to particular questions and answers. Then, my Lord, I return to the general question which I was considering in dealing with the boats; that is, as to what steps were taken to save life. In the first place, I have called your Lordship’s attention to what was done with regard to the boats. Then there were the attempts to summon the passengers to the boat deck with lifebelts and warm clothing. Your Lordship will remember there was a good deal of evidence given in detail with regard to that. The evidence with regard to the third class passengers is, in the main, the evidence of Hart, at pages 221 to 225, and at page 230; and the evidence of Pearcey at page 231, Mackay, 237, and 239, and Wheat, at page 241. Your attention has been called in some detail to this, and I think you have all the references that are material upon it. If your Lordship should require them again I can supply
   163   164   165   166   167   168   169   170   171   172   173