Titanic at first said to be under tow after hitting huge iceberg (1912)

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The Sinking of the Titanic – Drawn by Henry Reuterdahl
As we all know, reports that the Titanic was being towed to shore were little more than wishful thinking — and the product of a very rushed newsroom with looming deadlines but very little solid information.

The Titanic reportedly sank at about 2:20 am GMT on April 15. The 2:15 am wireless message mentioned in the first paragraph was, therefore, correct — despite the rest of this article seeming to contradict it.

Little did they realize that the Titanic was already long gone by the time this story hit the streets.

Disabled ship under tow after hitting big iceberg

Wireless brings steamships to scene of disaster, and passengers, including many notables, are transferred to Carpathia and Parisian


Halifax, Nova Scotia, April 15 1912 — The Canadian Government Marine Agency here at 4.15 PM received a wireless dispatch that the Titanic is sinking. The message came via the cable ship Minia off Cape Race.

It said that the steamers towing the Titanic were endeavoring to get her into shoal water near Cape Race for the purpose of beaching her.

It was said at the White Star line’s offices at 4 o’clock this afternoon that a dispatch had been received from a Canadian news agency that the Titanic was in a sinking condition. No confirmation of this report had been received. From another source, it was reported to the line late this afternoon that all the disabled vessel’s passengers had been put aboard the Carpathia, Parisian and Virginian.

Authentic wireless reports late this afternoon from the White Star liner Titanic, which was in collision with an iceberg 400 miles off the Newfoundland coast at 10.25 o’clock last night, is that the badly disabled steamship had safely transferred her passengers and is being attended by three big steamships.

Shortly before noon, the first official news of the fate of the Titanic since the flash of the disaster fourteen hours before was received from Cape Race, New Foundland, in the following wireless despatch from Capt Haddock of the Olympic, Titanic’s sister ship.

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Liners taking off passengers

“Parisian and Carpathia in attendance on Titanic. Carpathia has already taken off twenty boatloads of passengers, and Parisian five. Baltic is approaching. Olympic 260 miles from Titanic.”

Vice-President Franklin of the International Mercantile Marine declared in making public his message from the Olympic that the Titanic would be safely towed to port and that her passengers would be landed at Halifax.

A wireless message received at Cape Race from the Parisian this afternoon stated: “Cunard liner Carpathia is in attendance upon the disabled liner Titanic and has picked up twenty boatloads of Titanic’s passengers.”

No word had been heard from the Virginian at the main offices of the Allen Line in Montreal up to 3 o’clock this afternoon to supplement the first wireless message that reported the Virginian on her way to the scene of the wreck.

No details of the transfer of passengers have been received from any source.

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At 1 o’clock this afternoon, the White Star line officials here received the following bulletin from Boston: “Allen line. Montreal (by telephone), confirms report Virginian, Carpathia and Parisian in attendance.”

The operating officers of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad Company have been notified that the Titanic’s passengers will be landed at Halifax, and that there will be about six hundred passengers requiring transportation to New York in sleeping cars and some eight hundred by ordinary day coaches.

Twenty-three sleeping cars and two dining cars will be made up into trains between New York and Boston tonight and sent on to Halifax. It is expected that the passengers of the crippled leviathan will be landed at Halifax some time Wednesday.

The Carpathia, which, with the Parisian, took off the Titanic’s passengers, is a Cunard liner in Mediterranean service and left New York on April 13. Parisian is an Allen liner and sailed from Glasgow for Halifax on April 6. The Allen liner Virginian, out of Halifax for Glasgow, is reported to have the disabled liner in tow. The White Star steamship Baltic should be in attendance by this time, according to calculations of the line’s officials.

The first news of the Titanic’s accident was received at midnight by a wireless operator at Cape Race. It said: “Have struck an iceberg; we are badly damaged; rush aid. Titanic, lat. 41.46 North, long. 50.14 West.”

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2 Responses

  1. I just want to say I think the first story actually would be more correct which points towards the *conspiracy* on insurance issues. The White Star Line did not yet have time to bribe the newspapers to exaggerate the disaster so they (the newspapers) got their sources from the wires themselves before the covered up *correct* version appeared.

  2. In fact it would be more realistic for big steamships to tow the disabled Titanic but then the WSL couldn’t get any insurance claims if the ship can still be repaired.

    I know I’d be nervous if I were in charge of a doomed company that is highly respected but has a string of corruption if uncovered especially if I didn’t believe God could punish me for it in the afterlife.

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