Page 22 - The Times Titanic Souvenir 1988
P. 22
iltilffilGSI(,RY (continuedfrompage 18) hard a port to bring the stern away different story. Perhaps fearing a stampede to the lifeboats, from the iceberg but it was too late. She struck and, as the stewards keep passengers below until they received word iceberg glided by, tons of ice fell on to the focsle and well for them to be allowed on deck. On the bridge, Smith, deck. Murdoch pressed the electric switch controlling the shortly after midnight on April 15, issued the order for the watertight doors. Deep inside the Titanic alarm bells rang lifeboats to be uncovered and swung out. At approximately as the massive watertight doors sealed each of the liner's 16 12.l0am he entered the wireless room for the second time since the collision. The first time he informed Phillips and Bride that the Titanic had struck an iceberg, this time he told the two men to prepare to send a distress signal. Phillips asked what call should be sent, Smith replied: "The regulation international call for help. Just that." One of the ships to answer the distress calls was the Cunard liner Carpathia. Her commander, Captain Arthur Rostron, turned his ship around at once and steamed as fast as he could towards the last reported position of the Titanic. Compared with the White Star liner, the Carpathia was small, capable of a top speed of just 17 knots. It |inting shows passengers climbing into lifeboats but too many boats were launched before being fitled would take her more than to capaci$ - a Iault thought to have accounted for about 500 deaths on that terrrible April night four hours to reach the sink- ing ship. rtments. At the same time, Captain Smith rushed Problems on the boat deck mounted as the officers and to the bridge and asked what the ship had struck. The crew, unfamiliar with the working of the boats, tried to per- officer explained what had happened. suade reluctant passengers to leave the warmth and appar- ith, after receiving an initial report that no damage ent safety of. the Titanic. Whatever the first and second- been found, ordered the carpenter to go down and class passengers thought about their safety or comfort, the the ship. When he returned it was with bad news officers knew the ship would founder and failed in their the ship was making water. duty to load each boat to its stated capacity. This failure over the Titanic passengers were disturbed by the contributed to 500 unnecessary deaths. of vibration from the engines or the impact from the ion. J. Bruce Ismay, in his suite on B Deck, had been Ihe first lifeboat held 27 people by scrapping noises. Dressing quickly, he made his iust to the bridge and asked Smith if he thought the ship Most of the third-class passengers never had the opportuni- seriously damaged. "I'm afraid she is," came the reply. ty to decide whether to get into a lifeboat or not because by Andrews gave his assessment of the damage. In the time they were allowed on deck most of the boats had than l0 seconds six of the lhe Titanic's watertight com- gone. Some explanation regarding the number of passen- ts had been opened to the sea by the iceberg. The gers in each boat was offered at the British inquiry into the five - the fore peak, numbers one, two and three holds disaster. The surviving officers believed a fully loaded boat number six boiler room - were flooding uncontrollably. would buckle under the strain of lowering but this was flooding in boiler room number five was controlled by proved to be incorrect when some of the boats were tested. engine room pumps, but the sheer weight of water in Another reason put forward was that Smith intended to compartments was drawing the liner down by the load the partially filled boats with extra passengers from A critical design flaw in her socalled watertight com- one of the gangway doors at the side of the ship. This never which did not reach high enough, allowed water happened. The first boat lowered, with a capacity for 65, from one compartment to the next. It was clear that contained just 27 passengers and crew. Between 12.45am litanic would founder. The only question was when. and 2.05am, the officers and boat crews managed to launch estimated she would live for another hour. l8 of the Titanic's 20 lifeboats. passengers in first and second class only realised Although the officers and crew followed the unwritten was a problem when stewards ordered them to put on rule of the sea, stating that women and children lifejackets and to get up on deck. In third class it was a should go first, in reality, as (continuedonpage26) 23
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