Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Original Account of Wreck and Sinking of the Titanic

(New York Tribune, April 18, 1912)
Titanic Sinks Four Hours After Hitting Iceberg

Giant liner on maiden trip met with disaster
330 miles from Cape Race and went to the bottom.

New York. —The greatest marine disaster in the history of ocean traffic occurred Sunday night when the Titanic of the White Star Line, the greatest steamship that ever sailed the sea, shattered herself against an iceberg and sank with, nearly, 1,500 of her passengers and crew in less than four hours. The monstrous modern ships may defy wind and weather, but ice and fog remain unconquered.

Out of nearly 2,400 people that the Titanic carried only 866 are known to have been saved, and most of these were women and children. They were taken from small boats by the Cunard Liner Carpathia, which found when she ended her desperate race against time, only the boats, a sea strewn with the wreckage of the lost ship, and the bodies of drowned men and women.

Among the 1.480 passengers of the giant liner were Col. John Jacob Astor and his wife, Isador Straus, Major Archibald W. Butt, aid to President Taft; George D. Widener and Mrs. Widener of Philadelphia. Mr. and Mrs. Henry S. Harper, William T. Stead, the London journalist; F. D. Millet, the artist, and many more whose names are known on both sides of the Atlantic. The news that few besides women and children were saved caused the greatest apprehension as to the fate of these.

The text of the message from the steamer Olympic reporting the sinking of the Titanic and the rescue of 675 survivors also expressed the opinion that 1,800 lives were lost. "Loss likely total 1,800 souls," the dispatch said in its concluding sentence.

It is hoped and believed here that this is unless the Titanic had more passengers on board than was reported. She carried about 2,200 persons, including passengers and crew.
Deducting 675, the known saved, would indicate a loss of more than 1,500 persons.

The Olympic's dispatch follows:

"Carpathia reached Titanic position at daybreak: found boats and wreckage only. Titanic sank about 2:20 a. m., in 41:16 N. 50:14 W. All her boats accounted for, containing about 675 souls saved, crew and passengers included. Nearly all saved women and children. Dryland liner Californian remained and searching exact position of disaster. Loss likely total 1,800 souls."

Cross Section of the Titanic - Four Football Fields Long
(The Day Book, April 16, 1912)
On her maiden trip, the Titanic, built and equipped at a cost of $lO,000,000, a floating palace, found her graveyard. Swinging from the westerly steamship lane at the south of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland to take the direct run to this port she hurled her giant bulk against an iceberg that rose from an immense field drifted unseasonably from the Arctic. Running at high speed into that grim and silent enemy of seafarers, the shock crushed her bow. From a happy, comfortable vessel she was converted in a few minutes into a ship of misery and dreadful suffering.

When the Titanic plunged headlong against a wall of ice at 10:40 p. in., on Sunday night, her fate established that no modern steamship is unsinkable and that all of a large passenger list cannot be saved in a liner's small boats.

The place where the Titanic sank is about 500 miles from Halifax and the water at the point, about 70 miles south of the Grand Banks, is at least two miles deep. It is midway between Sable Island and Cape Race and in a line with those dangerous sands which however, might have been a place of safety had there been time to run the Titanic there and beach her on the northern side.

The survivors drifted about in the life boats for eight hours before they were picked up. The women and children suffered severely from cold and exposure as well as shock.

The Titanic's how crushed like an eggshell, water poured into the forward part of the giant liner so fast that Captain Smith ordered the 1.455 passengers into the life boats. The majority of the women and children got away from the doomed craft before she sank.

Staggering in the ice field into which she had driven at great speed, the Titanic sped call-after call to the hurling liners of the upper roads —the Carpathia, the Virginia, and the Parisian of the Allen Line, the Baltic, and the big Germans that were plowing their way between the continents. The Carpathia and the Virginian, wheeling in their course, sped through the night, and raced up to attempt to save the passengers and crew.

Hundreds of telephone calls and telegraphic inquiries poured into the offices of the White Star Line in lower Broadway, asking information as to the safety of friends and relatives who were on the Titanic.

From about 7 o'clock in the evening on the answers given by the company were far from reassuring, and a little later in the evening people began to come in person, seeking to get more definite news.

Vice-President Franklin of the White Star Line could tell them only that his latest information from Captain Haddock of the Olympic was to the effect that the Titanic sank at 2:20 a. m. Sunday, and that 675 passengers had been saved.

Vincent Astor appeared in the offices of the steamship company.

"Have you received any additional information?" he inquired of an official.

"Nothing," was the reply.

The young man, after vainly struggling to control himself, buried his face in his hands and sobbed.

Position of Boats Near Wreck of the Titanic
(The Day Book, April 17, 1912)
The Titanic ran into the same ice field off the Grand Banks that was reported by the Carmania on her arrival here. The ice was so thickly jammed that, crevices between the pieces could not be seen, and great icebergs, to the number of at least twenty-five, were drifting in the field. The steamer Mura and Lord Cromer, both of which have arrived in New York in the last few days, were damaged in making their way through the ice packs.

After reporting that the ship was sinking and that women and children were being put off in life boats, the next message from the wireless operator on the Titanic stated that the weather was calm and clear. He gave the position of the vessel 41.46 north latitude and 50.14 west longitude.

The Titanic, exceeding in size anything heretofore launched, is the pride of the White Star Line.

She is 882 1/2 feet long, 92 feet broad, with 66,000 tons displacement. Her registered tonnage is 45,000.

The boat deck of the gigantic vessel is more than sixty feet above the water. Built stanchly and heavily, without especial regard to speed, she was regarded as one of the safest vessels afloat. Twenty-one knots is her average rate of progress.

The immense amount of space required tor high-powered engines was saved, in the building of the Titanic, so that it might be devoted to cabin accommodations.

Five thousand passengers can be comfortably accommodated on the vessel. There is room for 600 cabin passengers and for more than 3,000 steerage passengers, while the crew—the largest that ever manned a boat —numbers about 800 men.

Before the launching of the Titanic there was grave apprehension on this side of the Atlantic as to the ability of the port to shelter so huge a craft. Special arrangements had to be made for the benefit of the Olympic and Titanic.

The Titanic has nine steel decks, the upper three being designed for the main saloons are
the largest on any craft afloat. The appointments are fully as splendid and nearly as commodious as those of the greatest hotels in Europe or America.

The ship is equipped with a swimming pool, a gymnasium, a beautiful veranda cafe on one of the upper decks, a grill, a palm garden, and a hospital.


St. John's, N. F. —A detailed story of collision of the Titanic with the ice and of her sinking is current here. The source of the story is the British steamer Bruce, which was in this port on March 19 and is now on her way to Sydney, N. S. She picked up by wireless the story from ships which were near the Titanic and from other vessels which took up the thread as they received it from intercepted wireless messages.

According to this account, the Titanic was steaming at the rate of eighteen knots when she hit the berg, and that the impact was so terrific as almost to tear the ship asunder. The deckings were broken through and the bulkheads forming the watertight compartments were crushed in from the bow to nearly amidships, it is said. The story has it that the force of the collision smashed several of the boats and all the upper works to pieces.

The Titanic is said to have piled up bow on, the blow being greater on the port side, which was torn to pieces, causing her to list far over and almost turn turtle. The leviathan, it is declared, reared half out of the water, tearing her bottom off on the ice from the bow to amidships. The steamer, as the compartments filled, settled by the head, and, although the after compartments for a time served their purposes, it was seen that the vessel was doomed.
Perfect order was maintained for a time, long enough for most of the boats to be launched, it is declared. Less than one thousand had been embarked, the report says, when the cry went up, "She's sinking!" and order changed to frenzy, and the crowd rushed madly for the lifeboats within reach. Some of these were swamped and others smashed to pieces as they were lowered.
The boat is said to have settled rather than sunk, the water finally reaching the engine room and dynamos, cutting off the wireless and lights, so that death came to those aboard the Titanic in darkness.
Titanic's Captain Had Warning of Icebergs

Philadelphia. The records of the United States Hydrographic Office, received here, show that the captain of the Titanic had full warning of his danger. At on the night of April 14 the captain of the Hamburg-American liner Amerika reported by radio telegraph that he had passed two
large icebergs in latitude 41.27, longitude 50.08. This report further shows that this Amerika message was relayed to the Government station by the Titanic. One hour later, in latitude 41.46, longitude 50.14, the Titanic struck the iceberg which caused her to go to the bottom.

Naval men here figured that the Titanic had steamed a little more than nineteen miles from the time she sent the report of the iceberg, relayed from the Amerika, and the time she struck the berg.

Havre. The French Liner La Touraine. reports that she was in communication with the Titanic on the afternoon of April 12.

The Presse Nouvelle quotes the captain of La Touraine as saying he sent a wireless dispatch reporting the presence of the icebergs to the captain of the Titanic, who acknowledged the message with thanks.


Sad Tale of survivors. Marine architects say that had the number of lifeboats been commensurate with the human cargo many lives would [have]been saved.

Wireless Station, Camperdown, N.S.—Messages filtering through here indicate that the passengers in the lifeboats from the Titanic had thrilling experiences:

"Huge quantities of field ice covered the ocean and the boat steerers had to guide their craft with the greatest care.

"In some cases the ice was so heavy that the boats could not force their way through it and as a result, many of them became widely separated.

"Many of the passengers in the lifeboats were scantily clad, having been hurried out of their berths in the dead of night and ordered into the boats.

"The transfer of the passengers from the steamer to the boats "was attended' by much excitement and panic."

(Excerpted from the Republican News Item, April 18, 1912)

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