April 15,1912: The First Lifeboat Reaches Carpathia / Boxhall Informs Rostron of What Has Happened

Monday, April 15th

After arriving at the scene, the Carpathia drifts toward Lifeboat 2 with 4th Officer Boxhall in command. The passengers of this boat are brought aboard. Boxhall is the first of Titanic's officers to inform Captain Rostron of Titanic's sinking.

Boxhall (left) and Rostron (right)

Video Provided By: "The Titanic" (1997)

All of Titanic's remaining passengers and crew make their way toward the Carpathia. By 8:30am all of the survivors have been brought aboard. Thirteen of Titanic's lifeboats are recovered and stored on Carpathia's deck.

April 15, 1912: Carpathia Arrives!

Monday, April 15th
3:30am - 4am

It has been nearly four hours since Carpathia had first responded to Titanic's distress call. Captain Rostron was getting everything and everyone ready to receive Titanic's survivors, all while pushing through the icy Atlantic at top speed. The Carpathia reaches Titanic's reported position around 3am to 3:30am only to find nothing. Carpathia sends a message to Titanic saying, "If you are there, we are firing rockets.".

As dawn appeared, all that was left of Titanic were her lifeboats. They were scattered for miles across the horizon among hundreds of icebergs.

"It was at quite an early stage that I had seen that I had seen far in the distance, the unmistakable mast lights of a steamer about four or five points away on the port side. My eyes were fixed for hours that night on the lights of that steamer far away in the distance, which afterwards proved to be those of the Carpathia. To my great disappointment they seemed to make no progress towards our rescue. This we were told later, was due to meeting an iceberg as she was proceeding full speed to the scene of the Titanic's wreck. She had come to a stop, and sighted the lights of our lifeboats, or such has had them. Finally, dawn appeared and there on the port side of our upset boat where we had been looking with anxious eyes, glory be to God! We saw the steamer Carpathia about four or five miles away with other Titanic lifeboats rowing towards her."

Titanic's First Class Passenger
-Col. Archibald Gracie

With the new light of dawn and with Carpathia visible in the distance, Titanic's survivors begin rowing toward the rescue ship. Some of the lifeboats are reorganized and tied together by Titanic's surviving officers before proceeding. The overturned collapsible B is sinking fast and it's passengers are transferred to other lifeboats close by. Many of the the lifeboats that were overloaded had their passengers transferred to other boats as well.

The rescue of Titanic's survivors has begun.

See Related Article: Carpathia Responds / Titanic's Situation Becomes Clear

April 15, 1912: Titanic Survivors Wait To Be Rescued

Monday, April 15th
2:20am - 4:00am

After Titanic disappeared, and the cries from the people in the water had silenced. The remaining people in the lifeboats had to endure the long wait to be rescued. Consisting of mostly women, the passengers of Titanic's lifeboats were encouraged to do whatever they could to stay warm.

Each one of Titanic's lifeboats has it's own story, but none so powerful as 
Collapsible Lifeboat B...

Video Provided By: Julian Fellowes' Titanic (2012)

April 15, 1912: 5th Officer Lowe Goes Back / Final Cries Fade Away

Monday, April 15th

About an hour after Titanic sank, and with nearly all the screams silenced, 5th Officer Lowe takes lifeboat 14 and returns to scene of the wreck to look for survivors. He was only able to rescue four people out of the hundreds that were floating on the surface. When he arrived, it was painfully clear that he waited too long.

"We were amongst hundreds of dead bodies floating in lifebelts. We could only see four alive. The first one we picked up was a male passenger. He died shortly after we got him in the boat. After a hard struggle we managed to get the other three. One of these we saw kneeling as in prayer on what appeared to be a part of a staircase. He was only about twenty yards away from us, but it took us half an hour to push our boat through the wreckage and bodies to get to him. Even then we could not get very close, so we put out an oar for him to get a hold of, and so pulled him to the boat. All the bodies we saw seemed as if they had perished with the cold, as their limbs were all cramped up. As we left that awful scene, we gave way to tears. It was enough to break the stoutest heart."

-Seaman Joseph Scarrott

Video Provided By: James Cameron's Titanic Explorer

April 15, 1912: 5th Officer Lowe Prepares to Go Back

Monday, April 15th

Titanic's 5th Officer Harold Lowe

Twenty minutes after Titanic went down, 5th Officer Lowe prepares to go back 
to help the people struggling in the water...

Video Provided By: James Cameron's Titanic Explorer

"We tied all our boats together so as to form a large object on the water, which would be seen quicker than a single boat by a passing vessel. We divided the passengers of our boat amongst the other four, and then taking one man from each boat so as to make a crew, we rowed away amongst the wreckage, as we heard cries for help in that direction."

-Seaman Joseph Scarrott

April 15, 1912: Titanic Strikes the Ocean Bottom

Monday, April 15th

After a two and a half mile descent, the broken halves of Titanic strike the ocean bottom on the edge of an undersea valley southeast of the Grand Banks. The stern and bow sections land ½ mile apart from each other, separated by a large debris field that covers one square mile.

The bow section dug it's way 60 feet into the ocean bottom. The the bow points to the northeast and is relatively recognizable. This being because the bow was fully flooded when it hit the bottom and therefore retained its overall shape.

The stern section however, is completely destroyed and bears little resemblance to a ship. The stern dug it's way into the ocean bottom rudder first and then imploded upon impact.

Map of Titanic's bow on the sea floor.

Map of Titanic's stern on the sea floor.

April 15, 1912: Some Passengers in the Lifeboats Want To Return. Many Are Outvoted.

Monday, April 15th

The sounds of Titanic's victims screaming for help is too much for some to bear. Some of the passengers in the lifeboats demand that they go and help. After all, many of the lifeboats had plenty of room to take on several more passengers.
Unfortunately, the passengers that wanted to go back and help were outvoted for one reason or another. The fear of going back and being swamped by the people in the water and then capsized, was a very real possibility.
Some of the lifeboat groups decided that going back would be too dangerous. Some decided that they would wait for the panic to calm down.

Whatever the reason, only one lifeboat will go back to help, and by that time it will be too late.

Lifeboat 8

First class passenger, Gladys Cherry later wrote a letter to the crew member that was in charge of Lifeboat 8, Seaman Thomas Jones...

"The dreadful regret I shall always have, and I know you share with me, is that we ought to have gone back to see whom we could pick up. But if you remember, there was only an American lady, my cousin, self, and you who wanted to return. I could not hear the discussion very clearly, as I was at the tiller, but everyone forward and the three men refused. But I shall always remember your words, 'Ladies, if any of us are saved, remember I wanted to go back. I would rather drown with them than leave them.'"

Lifeboat 1

With only 12 of it's 40 seats occupied, lifeboat 1 refuses to return. This lifeboat carried mostly male members of the ship's crew, and one very famous couple, Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon and his wife Lucile.

When the men in the boat began discussing the mater of going back to help, Duff-Gordon intervened saying that going back would be too dangerous and that the very idea was frightening his wife. While waiting to be rescued, Duff-Gordon promises a five pound check to each of the crew members in Lifeboat 1 to help compensate for their losses. His intentions may have been good, but he will spend the rest of his life denying that he bribed the men to not go back to help.  

Lifeboat 6

Lifeboat 6 is well known for it's notable passengers. Among them were: Denver millionairess Margaret Brown (known later as the "Unsinkable Molly Brown"), writer and feminist Helen Churchill Candee, Quartermaster Robert Hichens, and Lookout Fredrick Fleet.

Even though lifeboat 6 doesn't return to help, 
the actions of Margaret Brown will go down in history.

Video Provided By: James Cameron's Titanic Explorer

The Cries of the 1500

When Titanic sank she left 1500 people at the surface. Some were lifeless bodies, and some were struggling in the freezing water, waiting for a lifeboat to return and help them. It was the sound of the screams from these poor souls that would haunt the Titanic survivors forever.

"The agonizing cries of death from over a thousand throats, the wails and groans from the suffering, the shrieks of the terror-stricken, and the awful gasping for breath of those in the last throes of drowning, none of us will ever forget to our dying day."

First Class Passenger
Colonel Archibald Gracie

"The sounds of people drowning are something that I can not describe to you, and neither can anyone else. Its the most dreadful sound and there is a terrible silence that follows it." 

Second Class Passenger
Eva Hart

Third class passenger, Frankie Goldsmith was nine years old when Titanic sank. He was traveling with his mother and father. His father perished in the sinking. After the disaster, Frankie and his mother settled in Detroit, where he grew up near Tiger Stadium. When the Tigers played, the roar of the crowds reminded him of the sound of the Titanic victims screaming as they struggled in the water. Consequently, Frankie never took his children to baseball games.

Even though the people in the nearby lifeboats could hear these horrible sounds, only one lifeboat will go back to help.

Watch this video to hear a quote from
First Class Passenger, Jack Thayer...

Video By: Joshua Allen Milford
Audio Quote By: James Cameron's Titanic Explorer