Graphic accounts of the terrible scenes aboard the Titanic after it struck the iceberg and of the hardships endured by the survivors before they were rescued by the Carpathia are related by many of the men who reached port on the rescue ship.
H Haven of Indianapolis said the Titanic was going at high speed when it struck the iceberg, and that the helmsman apparently had seen the danger and put the helm over, for the boat veered and struck the iceberg — a glancing blow. This ripped off a large section of the plates on the starboard side and the water began to pour in.
He continued: “There was a great rush for the lifeboats as soon as it was known there was any real danger. So precipitate was this rush that many, in apparent frenzy, jumped into the sea. A remarkable thing was that the lights continued to burn although the Titanic settled lower and lower. When we were at some distance from the sinking ship and still could see the figures of hundreds of persons on the deck at the railings, there were several explosions.
“More persons went overboard. Presently the Titanic buckled amidships, and we could see persons sliding off into the water both fore and aft. Then the boat settled by the bow somewhat, the lights went out, and that was the last we saw of the Titanic.”
Jumped from deck
Peter D Daly of New York jumped from the deck of the Titanic after it was announced that there were only boats enough for the women and children. As he saw the ship settling gradually, he swam away with all his might to prevent being carried down with the suction of the sinking liner.
“For six hours, I beat the water with hands and feet to keep warm,” he said. “Then I was picked tip by one of the Carpathia’s boats. I was numb with the cold after a night which I scarcely can bear to discuss.”
The last to leave
Hugh Wollner, son of Thomas Wollner, R A, of London, says that there were two explosions before the Titanic sank. He believes he was the last person to leave the Titanic.
To a friend he said: “We saw what seemed to be a continent of ice. The iceberg which we struck was much higher than the bridge of the Titanic. It was not thought at first that the ship had been dealt a dangerous blow. Everybody took things comparatively easy. Some of the men were in the gymnasium taking exercise before turning in.
“Not long after the ship struck, there came the first big explosion; then, a moment later, the second. It was the second explosion that did the most damage. The Titanic careened to one side and passengers making for the boats were spilled into the water. The ship filled rapidly, and I jumped into a boat as it swung down the side.”
S H Bjornston Steffanson of Stockholm, a lieutenant in the Swedish artillery guards, who was a first cabin passenger on the Titanic, said:
“I was in the smoking room talking with Hugh Wollner, an Englishman, when the crash came. We rushed to the deck and learned of the danger. I said to Woolner, ‘We had better jump,’ and we both jumped. When we came up, we found ourselves beside a collapsible lifeboat. We grabbed it and were towed along for a few minutes, when the Titanic men who manned the boat said they could take two more passengers and hauled us in. A second later, a fat man bobbed up in front of the lifeboat and he, too, was taken aboard.
“We were about 200 feet from the Titanic when we saw its lights go out. Thirty seconds later there was a roar, and we saw the ship settle down slowly and then plunge, head down, for the bottom. It was quiet for a moment. Then the persons aboard the Titanic came to the surface, and there was the most terrible cry I have ever heard.”