The Titanic Disaster of 1912 Part 2

About the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, history of the disaster where 1,493 people died when the unsinkable ship sunk with too few lifeboats.


Those in the lifeboats could see that the Titanic had sunk 25' to 30', and her stern was out of the water. Lifeboat crews rowed furiously toward safety. A mile from the wounded liner survivors watched the Titanic break in 2, the forward half slipping beneath the surface. For a moment the rear half righted itself, then there was another explosion and it too began to sink in the icy waters. Survivors later reported they could hear the ship's string orchestra playing as the huge aft section disappeared.

Many ships had picked up the Titanic's SOS signal: "Have struck iceberg. Badly damaged. Rush aid." The Carpathia arrived at the scene about 4 A.M. and took on board such shocked and dazed survivors as it could find, then headed for New York.

Harold Bride, the Titantic's telegraph operator, reported that it was only by accident that the ship's radio was operational. It had gone out on Sunday, and Bride and Phillips had managed to repair it just hours before the tragedy. Other survivors reported they had heard gun shots. Several told a story about crew members who were trying to get aboard lifeboats being shot. It was also said that Captain Smith shot himself before the Titanic went down. Later, when surviving crew members were questioned, they gave no credence to either story. The Carpathia, with 700 survivors aboard, arrived in New York at 9 A.M. on April 18.

Aftermath: On July 30, 1912, the 74-page report of the Court of Inquiry, held in Scottish Hall, stated the following: "The Court, having carefully inquired into the circumstances of the above mentioned shipping casualty, finds, for the reasons appearing in the annex hereto, that the loss of said ship was due to collision with an iceberg, brought about by the excessive speed at which the ship was being navigated." Nothing was said of the fact that the Titanic, capable of carrying 3,500 passengers and crew, had lifeboats for a total of only 950.

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