Titanic Sinking - Women, Men, Babies, Lifeboats


Folk on Carpathia and Survivors Tell How the Boats Were Picked Up.

Babies Hoisted Aboard Rescuing Ship in Bags---Tell of Four Burials at Sea..

When the Carpathia reached the scene of the wreck on Monday morning the weather was clear and many lifeboats were floating around. Most of the boats, according to passengers on the Carpathia, as well as Titanic survivors, could easily have held many more persons. The Carpathia officers and crew got the survivors on board without trouble and assisted by the passengers everything possible was done to make them comfortable.

On the trip to New York the Carpathia's women passengers went about raising money for the needy survivors. About $7,000 in all was raised. Many of the survivors did not suffer at all from the long exposure, while others needed constant medical attention. Throughout the entire return trip Mrs. John Jacob Astor was very ill. Her condition, it was said, was serious during the entire voyage. The survivors talked freely of their experiences.

Mrs. Straus Clung to Husband.

John R. Joyce, a banker of Carlsbad, N. M., with officers at 220 Fifth Avenue, New York, a passenger on the Carpathia, said:

"In response to the wireless call, when we got up to the scene of the wreck we saw eighteen boats and one raft floating around. The Carpathia picked them all up. Four of the people on the raft were dead. They were buried at sea from the Carpathia on her way to New York.

"On the raft were about thirty-five people, and they said that about thirty-five others had tried to get on. They were lost either off the raft or while trying to get on it. It was all fixed for the women to go first. Some of the women refused to go, and the men had to insist, and actually pushed them into the boats. To the best of my knowledge the Titanic stayed afloat two hours.

"Some of the men were in their dinner jackets and evening clothes. As far as I know we saved about 600 passengers and 110 of the crew. A survivor I talked with said that when he was stepping into the last boat that left the Titanic he saw Isidor Straus. Mr. Straus as urging his wife toward the boat. She was insisting on remaining with him.

Said He Saw Astor Drown.

"I saw Mrs. Astor come on board the Carpathia, and one of the survivors told me that just before he left he saw Mr. Astor drown.

"Some of the people jumped from the Titanic and were immediately drowned. They leaped for the boats, but did not hit a lifeboat at all. I heard nothing of Major Butt. A rumor ran through the Carpathia after the rescue that there was a wild rush for the boats by the steerage passengers, and that three Italians were shot by the Titanic officers.

"A survivor said that the Titanic was going at full speed, or at least 20 knots and hour. The iceberg struck her side on and the impact didn't even throw people off their feet. As far as I can understand it scraped along the bulge keel and dragged her plates out."

"How did Mr. Ismay get out?" Mr. Joyce was asked.

For reply Mr. Joyce simply shrugged his shoulders and said:

"Well he got into a lifeboat. On the Carpathia he went to a stateroom and never said a word. There was some criticism regarding Mr. Ismay on board the boat, but he was not criticised[sic] severely. The White Star Line was criticized to some extent. People said that everybody could have been saved if there had been enough lifeboats. Among those who criticized the steamship line was the Second Officer of the Carpathia.

"Among the wreckage that was seen at the scene of the disaster were all kinds of furniture. When she went down, there was very little suction indeed. The order was given absolutely that women should go first. Many of them hesitated, and while they did so, some of the men slipped into the boats. The majority of the survivors were in good condition."

Hoisted Children in Bags.

Another passenger on the Carpathia made the following statement:

"I was awakened at about 12:30 by a commotion on the decks which seemed unusual, but there was no excitement. As the boat was moving I paid little attention to it, and went to sleep again. About 3 o'clock I again awakened. I noticed that the boat had stopped. I went to the deck. The Carpathia had changed her course. Lifeboats were sighted and began to arrive---and soon one by one they drew up to our side. There were sixteen in all, and the transferring of the passenger was most pitiable. The adults were assisted in climbing the rope ladders by ropes adjusted to their waists.

"The little children and babies were hoisted to the deck in bags. Some of the boats were crowded, a few were not half full. This I could not understand. Some people were in full evening dress, others were in their night clothes and were wrapped in blankets. These, with immigrants in all sorts of costumes, were hurried into the saloon indiscriminately, for a hot breakfast. They had been in the open boats four and five hours in the most biting air I have experienced. There were husbands without wives, wives without husbands, parents without children, and children without parents. But there was no demonstration. No sobs---scarcely a word spoken. They seemed to be stunned.

Heard Titanic's Band Playing.

"Immediately after breakfast divine service was held in the saloon. One woman died in a lifeboat, three others died soon after reaching our deck: their bodies were buried at sea at 5 o'clock that afternoon. None of the rescued had any clothing except what they had on, and a relief committee was formed and our passengers contributed enough for their immediate needs.

"When the lifeboats pushed away from the Titanic that liner was brilliantly lighted, the band was playing, and the Captain was standing on the bridge giving directions. The bow was well submerged and the keel rose high above the water. Suddenly the boat seemed to break in two. The next moment everything disappeared. The survivors were so close to the sinking steamer that they feared the lifeboats would be drawn into the vortex.

"There were preparations for a brilliant party to be given on board the next evening. On our way back to New York we steamed along the edge of a field of ice which seemed limitless. As far as the eye could see to the north there was no blue water. At one time I counted thirteen icebergs."

Let Husband Join Wife in Boat.

Mrs. Elmer Taylor of Philadelphia and London, who was rescued with her husband from the Titanic said:

"I had retired to my stateroom for the night, and I was reading a book when there came a bump that seemed to raise the boat about six inches. Wondering what had happened, we dressed hurriedly, rather out of curiosity than alarm. We were able to see an iceberg that seemed like a mountain of snow close at hand. There seemed to be no excitement and no appreciation of what had happened.

"Just then an officer came up and told us not to be alarmed, but to go down and put on our life belts. It did not seem to be possible that it would be safer to go into one of the little boats, and I preferred to stay on board. My husband persuaded me to get into the second lifeboat lowered on our side, and as there were several men waiting to get in and no women there at the time, the boat was lowered and my husband and a number of other men were allowed to get in and join their wives, who were already in.

"After we had rowed away from the Titanic we saw the ship suddenly go down --the lights going out on one deck after another, until, with a sudden dip, the Titanic was under the water.

Terrible Wails Rose to the Sky.

"The screams of the people who remained on board rose in a terrible wail to the sky. The sound of it still lingers in my ears. It was the most horrible thing I ever heard."


Forced to Sign Paper, Sailors Shot a Man Dead, Says Mrs. Lurch.

According to the story told by Mrs. Alexander Lurch, one of the survivors to reach this city on the Carpathia last night, a scene of disorder and cruelty took place on the Titanic and was continued on the Carpathia where, she said, she and others were forced to sng[sic] a paper stating that there had been no disorder of any kind, and all had been conducted on board the liner with precision.

Mrs. Lurch told her story to some friends who were taking her to the Junior League at Seventy-eighth Street and the East River, and was corroborated by another woman who accompanied her. She stated that the Titanic ran on to the iceberg at 11:45 o'clock, and was sure of this because her husband had looked at his watch and told her the time. Mr. Lurch then went up on deck to see what was the matter and was told to go back to his stateroom, as nothing had happened.

He returned, but told Mrs. Lurch to dress and after she had done so she came up on deck and saw men passing babies into the lifeboats, which had already been lowered and having great difficulty in lowering others. She said that she saw one woman clinging to her husbands neck and crying to the sailors to save him. Instead of doing this the sailor drew a revolver and pressing it to the man's head shot him to death. Several sailors then picked up the body, tossed in into the ocean and threw the woman into a lifeboat.

Upon the arrival of the Carpathia ropes were thrown down and tied under the women's arms and they were hauled aboard. Babies, she said, were placed in bags and hauled to deck. She said that when the first news of the disaster reached the ears of those aboard the Titanic the steerage doors were locked until the first-class passengers had been taken care of. In the boat in which she was there was only one officer and one seaman, and the women were made to take the oars and assist them.

Several men, according to her story, swam up to the side of the boat and were struck over the head with oars wielded by the two men. She said that she saw one man lashed to two chairs and hauled aboard the Carpathia. She said her husband was among those who went down on the Titanic and that five of the Titanic's boats are unaccounted for.

The New York Times, New York, NY 19 Apr 1912