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

April 15, 1912: Titanic Sinks!

After the bow section broke away, leaving the stern section at the surface in a near upright position, the people still on board had no choice but to hang on and wait for what was going to happen next. Then after about a minute or so, the stern section begins to sink.

Some passengers found places that used to be vertical, but were now horizontal, to rest on as the ship went down. However, there were some that were having to hang on to anything they could in an effort to keep from falling the long distance to the water. It is easy to imagine people hanging on then losing their grip and falling, with no guarantee that they wouldn't collide with something on the way down.

As Titanic makes her final decent, water flooding the inside of the stern starts to force it's way into areas that are still filled with air, violently bursting through the weaker structures of the ship.

Third Officer Pitman is watching nearby in lifeboat number 5 as the last of Titanic slowly slips beneath the surface.

"2:20 exactly, ship's time. I took my watch out at the time she disappeared, and said, "It is 2:20," and the passengers around me heard it. 2:20am, the 15th of April."

-Third Officer Herbert Pitman

Monday, April 15th at 2:20am,
2 hours and 40 minutes after the collision,
Titanic sank beneath the surface of the
North Atlantic.

April 15,1912: Titanic's Stern Stands Nearly Vertical

Monday, April 15th

Titanic's broken stern section is resting flat on the surface of the Atlantic. Passengers in the lifeboats watch on as the events unfold. Even after seeing the ship break in two, some consider that the stern section may stay afloat. After all, it is an unsinkable ship!

Then Titanic's rudder and propellers began to rise out from the water. What is unseen beneath the surface is that Titanic's bow is still attached to the stern by only the ship's double bottom keel. The weight of the bow pulls the stern's broken end downward into the sea. Titanic's stern rapidly rises higher and higher into the air to a near vertical position. The bow section finally breaks away, leaving the stern section alone on the surface, all while holding it's position assisted by the weight of the engines and continued flooding.

The people still aboard would have been in a state of fear and confusion to what was happening around them.

"Her deck was turned slightly toward us. We could see groups of nearly fifteen hundred people still aboard. Clinging in clusters on bunches. Like swarming bees. Only to fall in masses, pairs, or singly. As the great after part of the ship, two hundred fifty feet of it, rose into the sky."

First Class Passenger
Jack Thayer

The stern floats for about a minute, a minute that would seem like an eternal nightmare for those still aboard. Then as the flooding continues, Titanic's stern begins to sink.