Titanic Sinking - Thousands Stand in Times Square
WOMEN SOB AS NEWS BULLETINS APPEAR
Thousands Stand in Times Square Till Midnight to Learn Details of Disaster.
AMAZED TO HEAR OF LOSS
Woman Who Had Relatives Aboard the Ship Becomes Hysterical as She Reads of Titanic's Fate.
The bulletins posted in quick succession from 7:30 to 10 o'clock, and at slightly longer intervals thereafter, proved a profound surprise to thousands, who congregated in Times Square.
People rushing along the street at 7:30 o'clock carried final editions of the evening papers declaring that all were saved, and that the Titanic was under tow en route to Halifax. Some of them stopped as if transfixed as they caught sight of the bulletin declaring the Titanic had gone down and all on board except the women and children were lost.
From about 100 watchers who had been following the earlier bulletins the crowd in Times Square sprang within fifteen minutes to something over 4,000. A cleared space ten feet in width was maintained on the sidewalk adjoining the Times Building, but Broadway, on the east side of the building, was packed as far as the street car tracks while on the north the crowd stretched far out into the automobile stand maintained north of Forty-third Street.
Many on their way home from business attempted to hurry past in the cleared space on Broadway, close to the bulletin board. They glanced hurriedly at the bulletins and lingered as if unable to comprehend the meaning. At the first place they could stop after leaving the main traffic channel they did so, and then stood for hours, as the fresh dispatches continued to hold them fascinated.
With the synchronized bulletin machines flashing the news to immense throngs north and east of the Times Building on three separate bulletin boards, and to another throng far downtown from another bulletin board, all operators realized they were receiving news of an overwhelming event in a manner that only a little time ago was unthought of.
Here are a few exclamations heard:
The whole bottom must have been torn open.
I do hope it isn't true.
How could it happen? I hope someone responsible who can tell us all about it was saved.
Could the ship have broken in two?
The Titanic must have been going at a terrific speed.
ANXIETY ALLAYED ALL DAY.
The crowds of men and women who had friends on the Titanic and who kept drifting all day yesterday into the White Star offices from the opening of the office early in the morning received positive assurances. The officers of the line who answered inquiries said that the sinking of the largest vessel afloat, with her many devices for safety was an utter impossibility. There had been no loss of life, these men and women were told again and again. Reports showed that even if the vessel was "down by the head" her passengers were being taken of safely.
"How could she sink with those fifteen bulkheads and her many water-tight compartments," was repeated again and again. The officers of the line admitted that they were rather uncertain as to facts, that messages had been few, and that these simply repeated what was known through press messages, and all were encouraging in character. The first message given out by P. A. S. Franklin, Vice President of the International Mercantile Marine Company, was headed "No Alarm for Titanic's Passengers." It follows:
P. A. S. Franklin, Vice President of the International Mercantile Marine Company, said this morning that while no direct message from the Titanic had been received at the office, the officials were perfectly satisfied that there was no cause for alarm regarding the safety of the passengers or the ship, as they regard the Titanic as being practically unsinkable. They do not regard the cessation of the ship's wireless messages as denoting anything serious, as this might have been caused by atmospheric disturbances or other causes. The Titanic is well able to withstand almost any exterior damage and could keep afloat indefinitely after being struck.
The Olympic has just been reported as having been in direct communication by wireless with the Titanic.
Mr. Franklin added to this statement by repeating that he did not attach any significance to the fact that there were no Marconi messages being received from the Titanic. That, he said, denoted nothing, but the fact that the boat was in communication with other steamships may have indicated that she got off all the messages she wanted to send.
No word was received from the distressed ship until the middle of the forenoon, when it was given out that the contents of a wireless message from the Titanic had been received from Montreal. The message stated that at 8:30 o'clock yesterday morning the vessel was afloat and going slowly under her own power toward Halifax and in the direction the Virginian was believed to have taken in response to wireless calls.
The message stated that women and children had been passed into the lifeboats and small craft on the vessel. The message added that the weather was clear and the sea calm. The pumps were being worked to the utmost, although it was said that the forward hold was filled with water-tight compartments and was standing the strain well, and it was said, if these compartments held out, the vessel would reach the shore in safety.
This was the first word that had come to the office, although a message, it was declared, had been received from the Olympic saying that she was in wireless communication with the Titanic.
At 11 o'clock Mr. Franklin told reporters that no more information had been received, but he was sure the bulkheads would hold. A second message, it was announced, was received from Capt. Haddock of the Olympic, stating that the Parisian and the Carpathia had reached the Titanic. Mr. Franklin sent this message to Capt. Smith of the Titanic:
Anxiously awaiting information: full particulars: probably disposition of passengers.
Among the numerous persons who inquired as to the condition of the damaged boat at the White Star offices was W. H. Force, the father of Mrs. John Jacob Astor, J. G. Dobbyn, secretary to Mr. Astor, accompanied Mr. Force. Bradley Martin, Jr., was among those who inquired about the boat, but as to whose welfare he was interested in was not learned. Magistrate Robert C. Cornell, whose wife was on the stricken liner, sent one of his court attendants. Ex-Senator Clark was also at the office, but officials of the line said he had no relatives on board the Titanic, but had come to the office to arrange for transportation.
The New York Times, New York, NY 16 Apr 1912