Page 171 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
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The Attorney-General: Apparently the first signal by wireless telegraphy, so far as I have been able to get from the evidence, is 12.15. From 11.40 to 12.15 nothing was done by Marconigram, so far as this shows us. But at that time the message is sent out, and your Lordship sees, was received by several vessels at 12.15, by the “Carpathia” at 12.25, and then within a few minutes she sends her message that she is coming to their assistance. Of course, they go on for a considerable time, but I do not think it helps very much. What your Lordship wanted to know was when the “Carpathia” signalled. Now, my Lord, that deals with all the steps that were taken after the vessel had come into collision. It is not very easy to see why they did not send a message earlier by Marconigram, because they knew apparently within a very few minutes, within 10 minutes, that the vessel was seriously injured. They may have waited. The Commissioner: That is what occurred to me. The Captain must have known it was necessary to get assistance as speedily as possible, within a quarter of an hour, and one would have thought he would have gone straight to the Marconi room and summoned assistance. But you say 12.15 is the first. The Attorney-General: Yes, that is the first. That is “Titanic” time. Well, now, that, I think, disposes of all the evidence that there is, as to steps taken after the collision. What happened subsequently has given rise to some doubt at one time, but I think it is abundantly clear now, particularly after the evidence of the officers, that, although it may have been thought at one moment, and certainly was by some of the crew - some of the earlier witnesses who were called before you - that the vessel had broken in two at one stage, and that the head, the fore part of the vessel, had disappeared, leaving the afterpart floating for a time, which then disappeared, that is disposed of now. The Commissioner: There is no suggestion of that now. The Attorney-General: No. I think the reason why they came to that conclusion was that apparently one of the funnels broke aft, and possibly those looking at it, seeing that happen, may have thought that meant that the afterpart of the vessel was still afloat. That is some explanation of it. But it is quite plain, I think, from the evidence which has been given now that she did not break in two, there can be no question of that, and that she did go down certainly with her stern at an angle of something like 45 degrees. I think that seems to be established pretty clearly by the evidence, especially by the evidence of the officers, and that would be explained also by the plan which Mr. Wilding put in, which showed your Lordship what would happen if those compartments became filled. It is exactly what those who are skilled in the flotability of vessels would naturally expect to happen, and what, according to the evidence, did happen. That brings me to the two last points, undoubtedly important ones, upon which I have to address you, and one is the very important matter of the boat accommodation provided by the “Titanic,” and also as to whether that boat accommodation was sufficient. Well, it is quite plain, and there is nothing to be said to the contrary, that according to the evidence we have got the boat accommodation was not sufficient for the number of passengers who were on board; I mean by that that on this particular occasion, had there been more boats and had the passengers been willing to leave in the boats, a greater number of lives would undoubtedly have been saved. That is quite clear. In the observations which I want to make to your Lordship now with respect to this matter, I have to deal with the suggestions which are made as to the want of proper provision by the Board of Trade for an emergency of this character, and I think it substantially amounts, when one has considered all the evidence that has been given, to the suggestion that the Board of Trade ought to have provided a scale of boat accommodation for vessels of over 10,000 tons and in different gradations, so that it would have been necessary according to the Board of Trade requirements.
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