Wednesday, July 21, 2021

The Race To Save The Titanic....They All Could Have Been Saved

 It is an audacious thing to say that the fifteen hundred and twenty one people who froze in the icy twenty degree water of the North Atlantic could have been saved. But it is true. Sadly. The mythology of the Titanic would have us believe their fate was preordained. Nay the legend demands it now. Men gallantly sending off their wives and children and going down with the ship with the band playing, a final cigar, a final dash of brandy. It is all very WASPISH and assumes their fate was sealed by the isolation of Titanic in the middle of the Atlantic on April 14 1912. But there is another story and it is not heroic.

The truth is everyone could have been saved if it not were for human failing. The First Class passengers paddled away and waited for their rescue and watched their husbands and third class passengers go down with the ship. This is what is handed to us by history. But in actuality many of the lifeboats were busy rowing toward a light they could see very clearly. They were told by Captain Smith himself to go toward the light and that the ship would pick them up. So they did but they never reached the ship that refused to come closer. This was the California that was a mere ten miles away with her officers watching the Titanic sink in front of them while shooting off rockets. Rockets that her Captain  would deny were for distress and would go to his grave denying the ship that sank was the Titanic. 

And yet the tragedy grows. On the far side of the icefield the Titanic was being observed by passengers aboard the Mt Temples. They had been forbidden to go up on deck but many snuck up only to see a ship with lights blazing, shooting off rockets, sliding into the flat calm of the Atlantic. The Mt Temple would come no closer and later her crew would consider mutinying against the captain for turning back when they were less than five miles away. Many newspaper articles would follow with Captain Moore explaining he could not risk the ship by entering the icefield.

The real story of human failing has been plastered over by the heroic ideal that was immediately offered up to lessen the blow of the great tragedy. But the real story has yet to be told...until now. 

One Hundred and Sixty Minutes The Race To Save The Titanic

Books by William Hazelgrove