Sunday, April 15, 2012

Millionaires Perish Among 1,300 Lost in Sea Tragedy - April 15, 2012

This story, from the 17-April-1912 San Francisco Call, describes the sinking of the White Star ocean liner RMS Titanic, which struck an iceberg on the night of 14-April-1912 and sank early on the morning of 15-April-1912, 100 years ago today.  Modern estimates say that about 710 passengers and crew were rescued and 1,514 died.  Click on the image to see a larger version. 

Millionaires Perish Among 1,300 Lost in Sea Tragedy


Hopes for Safety of More Than 868 of Titanic's Passengers Have Vanished

Approximate Statement Of Titanic Disaster

First cabin passengers, 325.
Second cabin passengers, 285.
Third cabin passengers, 710.
Total number of passengers, 1,320.
Members of the crew, 8600.
Total passengers and crew, 2,180.
Number of known survivors, 868.
Number who probably perished, 1,312.
Total number of named survivors, 325.
Approximately twenty lifeboats manned by seven members of the crew each, 140.
Estimated number of steerage passengers saved, 400.
Total number of persons saved, 868.
Named survivors: First cabin passengers —— Women, 141; men, 63; children, 6; Total, 210.
Second cabin passengers —— Men, 16 women, 92; children, 10. Total, 118.
Total number cabin survivors, 328.

NEW YORK, April 16.- Only a faint hope remains tonight that any of the 1,302 passengers and crew who have been missing since the giant Titanic liner struck an iceberg 400 miles off Cape Race and sank, have been picked up by trans-Atlantic liners. The 808 survivors rescued from lifeboats by the Cunarder Carpathia, now on its way to New York, are the only known, saved.

The brief and meager messages that came to hand today practically extinguished hope that some of the ill-fated passengers may have been picked up at sea by the Virginian and Parisian of the Allan line. Both these steamers have sent word by wireless that they had none of the Titanic's survivors on board.

Of the 868 persons rescued by the Carpathia, the names of 326 passengers have been received by wireless up to a late hour this afternoon. The Carpathia evidently was out of wireless range towards noon, for after that efforts to reach the vessel with wireless were futile, and a score or more of messages from the Cunard company and other sources were unanswered.

That the final roll of the rescued from the Titanic disaster practically had been made up, was the impression that grew almost into conviction last night as the hours wore on without the revision of lists adding measurably to the total of known survivors.

Little News Comes .

Of definite news the night added little. Down the Atlantic coast, fog enveloped in many places, as the reports showed, crept the Cunarder Carpathia, bearing the 868 lives that had been snatched from the waters when the Titanic's 20 boats, laden to the limit, one by one made their way from the giant liner as it became known that it was soon to take its fatal plunge.

But although the rescue ship was reported within wireless range of the Sable island, station at a comparatively early hour and every wireless ear was waiting to catch the snap of a receiver which might mean that the great secret of the liner's end was about to be given up, midnight came and went and the
night began to grow old. and still the word, had not been received.

Carefully compiling the available lists, the record of the known survivors of the disaster stands significantly
Men 79, women 233, children 11; total 128.

Proportion of Women.  

Of the remaining 540 known survivors it is estimated that not more than 100 were seamen required to man the boats. This would leave approximately 440, and: in the ordinary proportions of women and children in the steerage, where passengers in the Titanic's care numbered 710, it seems probable that the greater part of these 440 were women and their little ones.

Nothing could show more plainly the heroism, of the crew and the men passengers who stood by the doomed ship facing inevitable death and sent the women and children away in the life boats.

Some would have to be left: that was a certainty. Hundreds in fact were left. But, to all appearances, the men
who were left stayed behind deliberately, calmly, stepping aside to let the weaker ones, those to whom they owed protection, take their way to safety.

Final Message.

"Sinking by the head. Have cleared boats and filled them with women and children."

This was the final message these brave men sent the world, for it was directly afterward that their wireless signals sputtered and then stopped altogether.

The picture that inevitably presents itself in view of what is known, is of men like John Jacob Astor. master of scores of millions. Benjamin Guggenheim of the famous family of bankers; Isador Strauss, merchant prince: William T. Stead, veteran journalist; Major Archibald W. Butt. soldier; Washington Roebling, noted engineer — of any or all of these men stepping aside and bravely, gallantly remaining to die that the place he otherwise might have filled could perhaps be taken by some sabot shod, shawl enshrouded, illiterate and
penniless peasant woman of Europe.

Men Remained to Die.

Thus the stream of women with toddling infants, or babes in arms, perhaps most of them soon to be widowed, filed up from the cabins and over the side and away, to life. The men — by far the greater part of them — remained to die, millionaire and peasant and man of middle class alike, bravely, it must have been, sharing each other's fate and going down to a common grave.

Of the survivors, what? Their story of peril and suffering with the revelations they will furnish of just what happened on board the stricken ocean giant remains .to be told.

How quickly they will be able to tell it and clear up all the mysteries of identity of which the limited carrying capacity of the Carpathia's wireless has left the world in doubt seemed to depend entirely upon atmospheric conditions.

The weather was thick on the coast last night, not only interfering, it is believed, with. the wireless communication, from the liner to Sable island, but probably with its rate of progress to New-York, whither it is heading.

Other Methods Tried.

 Meanwhile other methods of communication than by tbe land stations are being tried. From the Virginia capes, the scout cruisers Salem and Chester, armed with powerful wireless apparatus, are speeding toward the Carpathia. and it is hoped that before many hours have elapsed they will be in touch with the vessel.

 Up to 1:30 this morning, so far as.could be learned at any of the coast stations, no syllable of tidings had come from the Carpathia since it was able, by the aid of the Olympic's relay, many hours before, to send waveringly ashore, a list of the names of first and second cabin 'I'itanic survivors which it .had on board.

It is thought — feared will be the better word—that this list now is practically complete.

Weather Unfavorable.

As for the rest, direct advices from Sable island reported that weather conditions were bad for transmission and that only faint communication was had with the ship, it being barely within range. It was .thought, too, that the wireless operator on the Carpathia had become fatigued from his long siege at the key .and that he was resting, preparing for the transmission of messages when the ship comes into communication with stations on the American coast.

Vice President Franklin of the White Star line said that so far as he knew the Olympic was still standing by the Carpathia to relay wireless messages.  He added that he had received no word from the Olympic since 9 o'clock this morning and had been unable to get either the Carpathia or Olympic by wireless

Franklin said also that the steamship companies crossing the Atlantic had entered into an agreement to abandon the short northern route in favor of the Southern route as long as icebergs were reported in. the pathway of the former course.

A dispatch from Montreal saying that hope still was entertained there that the Parisian might have aboard some of the Titanic's survivors. Franklin characterized as a "ridiculous report."  He added that "in my opinion, neither the Parisian nor the Virginian has any survivors aboard."

The Titanic was insured for $5,000,000, Franklin said. On the ship, he added, the White Star line would lose about $3,000,000.

"This will be the smallest part of our loss," he added.

Captain Rostron of the Carpathia, in his last wireless report to the Cunard company, said that his vessel was proceeding slowly through a field of ice to this port.

President Taft. from Washington late this afternoon, directed the secretary of the navy to order the scout cruisers Salem and Chester from Hampton roads to meet the Carpathia and send by wireless to the government a. complete li«t of the Titanic's survivors. The Chester was caught by wireless about 40 miles off the Chesapeake capes and by 4 o'clock was steaming northward at 20 knots an hour, aiming to get as quickly as possible into touch with steamers having news bearing on the disaster.

News Expected.

Revenue cutters also were notified to stand in readiness to proceed to the Carpathia, if necessary.. In the event that the Salem had not sufficient coal, instructions were given to dispatch the cruiser North Carolina instead.

A possible chance of obtaining news bearing on the disaster developed early this evening  when the  Leyland liner Californian came into the zone of wireless communication with Sable island.  The Californian was reported, at the scene of 'the disaster shortly after the Titanic went down and it was thought probable it would have valuable information to communicate.

Captain Resten of the Carpathia has been instructed to send full details of the sinking of the Titanic.

The treasury department, through the customs office, has given orders to expedite the landing of the survivors of the Titanic and to aid them in every way possible upon arrival of the Carpathia. Customs regulations have been suspended and the customs officers will aid the survivors in finding relatives and friends.

Vice President Franklin said late this afternoon that his list of survivors showed that 202 out of 325 first cabin passengers and 114 out of 285 second cabin passengers of the wrecked liner had been accounted for.

Carpathia Silent.

Charles B. Sumner, general agent of the Cunard line in this country, said tonight that he believed the Carpathia was within 60 of 75 miles of the Titanic when the big ship struck the iceberg.  Sumner, who had tried vainly to reach the Carpathia by wireless during the afternoon, said he had no way of telling where the Carpathia was at this time, but thought it was steaming for New York. It might be within the New-York wireless telegraph zone and able to send messages late tonight or tomorrow morning, he said. but added
that he merely advanced this as a supposition.

Going to New York.

When asked regarding a rumor that the Carpathia might put into Boston and land its rescued passengers there, Sumner replied there was nothing in the report. Had there been but a few of the rescued ones this might have been done, he said, but it was his opinion that with .more than 800 survivors on board the captain of the Carpathia would make direct for this city.

It was estimated that both the scout cruiser Chester and its sister ship, the Salem, which was understood to have started north about the time the Chester headed that way, would be in touch with the Boston wireless station before midnight. The cruisers are expected to communicate any information they may acquire to Washington.

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