Menu

See how the Titanic survivors in lifeboats were rescued by the ship Carpathia (1912)

Note: This article may feature affiliate links to Amazon.com or other companies. Qualifying purchases made via these links may earn us a small commission at no additional cost to you. Find out more here.

Titanic survivors in a lifeboat, about to board rescue ship Carpathia

First photographs of scenes connected with the Titanic disaster

Babel at pier as Samaritan ship lands survivors

New York, April 19th — Grim, misty silence today shrouded the Carpathia, ambulance of the sea, as she lay at her dock, her work of rescue done.

Where last night, women, insane with horror, voiced their anguish in hideous shrieks, today, soft-footed sailormen calmly prepared the Carpathia for her interrupted Mediterranean tour, on which she will start again this afternoon.


Titanic rescue – Fifth Officer Lowe towing the canvas collapsible lifeboat

Titanic rescue - Fifth Officer Lowe towing the canvas collapsible lifeboat


Titanic rescue from 1912 – Canvas collapsible lifeboat

Titanic rescue from 1912 - Canvas collapsible lifeboat


Waiting for those who survived

Where last night, the sobbing of strong men sounded through the darkness as they tenderly cared for the pitiful few Titanic survivors, today burly stevedores hustled bales and barrels, to fill the holds emptied when the ship’s recuse trip interrupted her voyage.

It was well into the morning before the last of the more than seven hundred Titanic survivors left the Carpathia. They were the steerage passengers, and, cared for by charitable organizations, they were taken to the city lodging house.

The landing of the Carpathia, last seen in one of the world’s greatest tragedies, followed — no playwright’s rules in the staging of its drama of broken hearts.

A little group of people — perhaps 300, possibly 400 was drawn in around the canopied gangplank. Up and a down the huge Cunard pier were hundreds of men and women, standing silent, or conversing on indifferent things. The chugging of a tugboat sounded from out in the North River.

A mast moved silently by. Then the white bow of the Cunarder glided past. A man smoking a cigar aboard — “They’re smoking!” half shrieked a woman who had stood waiting, motionless for three long hours.

Solid rows of faces could be seen moving past the open as the Carpathia was warped into her berth. In the outer darkness, no one countenance was distinctly visible. Other lighted cigars glowed in the mass of humanity on the boat.

“I guess there are lots of them still able to smoke,” began a man, and then stopped. “My sister was drowned,” he added, after a moment, as though in apology.

At last, the gangplank was swung aboard. Dr. Henry W. Frauenthal, distinguished New York surgeon, was the first survivor of the Titanic to step ashore.

His red beard was neatly combed, his shoes his coat all bespoke careful attention. He nodded, smiling, to right and left, and strolled, with his young bride beside him toward the exit. He might have been alighting from a ferryboat after a day in Jersey City. (Continued below)


Full Titanic lifeboat with survivors about to be brought aboard the rescue ship Carpathia

Titanic lifeboat with survivors about to be brought aboard the rescue ship Carpathia


Titanic survivors in a lifeboat, about to board rescue ship Carpathia

Titanic survivors in a lifeboat, about to board rescue ship Carpathia


In odd clothing

After him came a young woman. Her hair was loosened; her face was flushed and her eyes were swollen with weeping. She wore odds and ends of clothing picked up from among the Carpathia’s passengers. She walked straight into the midst of the crowd. Then she stopped. Her hands went out before her the fingers clutching at the air, the cords in the thin wrists standing out like string on a violin.

MORE  Harry Houdini's underwater box escape: See how he did his famous trick

Without a sob, without a cry, she staggered headlong into the arms of an elderly woman, who stood waiting, and wilted into a quiet heap upon the floor.

By now the passengers were coming off in streams. Few of them wore their proper clothing.

One after another, they fell into the arms of relatives, sweethearts, husbands, and wives, in that same wordless passion of thanksgiving for safety, and grief for those who were gone.

The pier had been carefully arranged in alphabetically designated sections, where friends might await the pitiful procession. Small regard was paid to these.

Customs officers tenderly thrust before them couples, groups of reunited dear ones who stood in the path, arms locked about necks, sobbing dry sobs of joy and woe. Yet, others were waiting to come to those they loved, and the way must be kept clear.

Meantime, a significant line of white-coated hospital interns, white-capped nurses and orderlies, bearing great packages of surgical bandages, and cases of evil-looking little knives and saws that had filed on board the boat.

It was nearly ten minutes later that the first physician reappeared. “Thank Heaven,” he said, mopping his brow, “there was nothing for me to do.” (Continued below)


Meet the Titanic survivors

Here are some of the Titanic survivors on the deck of the Carpathia just before they reached New York. this photograph was taken by Miss Bernice Palmer, who, with other women passengers on the Carpathia, supplied those who were rescued with wraps and shawls.

From 1912 - Real Titanic survivors on the rescue ship Carpathia (4)

Other groups of survivors onboard the Carpathia, taken on the second day of the rescue ship’s journey from the scene of the disaster to New York City.

From 1912 - Real Titanic survivors on the rescue ship Carpathia (1)


Titanic survivors aboard the rescue ship

Mr. & Mrs. G.A. Harder and Mrs. Charles M. Hayes talking

From 1912 - Real Titanic survivors on the rescue ship Carpathia (3)


Titanic survivors on the Carpathia deck

From 1912 - Real Titanic survivors on the rescue ship Carpathia (2)


Babel of voices

That was the first word that was spoken aloud there at the end of the gangplank from the time the Carpathia ceased motion. In some way the words of the young intern seemed to clear the air.

A babble of questions, answers, cries, sobs, and calls arose at once. A woman whose feelings had Leenpent within her bosom since the dreadful launching of the little lifeboat just after midnight Monday shrieked wildly, and went into hysterics.

A little chubby baby boy, carried off the boat by a nurse, wailed loudly. Tears came to those who had been tearless and saved them, perhaps, from madness. The furrows in their faces shows that they could not much longer have endured the tension.

MORE  So this happened... 12 too-cute vintage engagement stories from the '20s

Four women were carried off the boat in stretchers. A man was carried out in a basket made of two men’s hands and arms. He was smoking a pipe and talking from the corner of this mouth cheerily to two women, who sought needs of his condition. After an hour and a half, the stream of survivors ceased.

Mrs. John Jacob Astor, despite the rumors that she was in a critical condition gave the members of her family a joyful surprise down the gangplank. She wore a white sweater and as she kissed her father she said: “I hope he is alive somewhere. I cannot think of anything else but I am sure he will be saved.” (Continued below)


Survivors arriving in New York

Survivors of the Titanic on the Carpathia off Sandy Hook, waiting for a pilot to board the vessel

Carpathia with Titanic lifeboats


An anxious crowd in New York waiting to greet the Titanic survivors

People in New York waiting to greet the Titanic survivors


Colonel Astor’s parting

She said that the Colonel’s last words to her were: “I will meet you in New York, dear.”

Mrs. Astor has hurried in a fast automobile to the Astor home on Fifth Avenue, where an official statement was later issued by the family that was in as good health as was to be expected under the circumstances.

It was long before the upper pier was cleared. Anxious questionnaires pressed around the survivors, pouring queries faster than tongue could answer.

J. Bruce Ismay, head of the company which owned the Titanic — Ismay, who came safe to land — most talked of perhaps, of all, unless it was Colonel Astor. (Continued below)


VIDEO: See where these people had just been

 


Stories of bravery

Some cursed Ismay, among the survivors. Others told that the boat in which he escaped was not full, because the women on board refused to come — they did not think the ship would sink.

The story of brave Mrs. Isidor Straus, who spurned proffered safety to stay with her husband when she knew that death was near, caused a great group of men and women to burst into tears. It was simply told by the woman who was speaking — Mrs. J.J. Brown. “And she stayed,” Mrs. Brown said, “clinging there to her husband’s arm and died.”

At last the crowd was gone. The dock was deserted. The Carpathia was asleep. A rain beat upon the pavements outside, and in the rain 700 survivors of the Titanic scattered to grieve for those who lie dead in the ocean, off Newfoundland.

More stories you might like

See our books

One Response

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Because the fun never ends:

Pin It on Pinterest

join the fun

Don’t miss out on the latest and greatest vintage stuff!

Sign up for our free weekly newsletter here.