From the archives — 1912: Titanic sinks

2013-06-30T00:00:00Z 2014-12-10T19:14:53Z From the archives — 1912: Titanic sinksJournal Times staff Journal Times
June 30, 2013 12:00 am  • 


Giantess of Ocean, Titanic, Strikes Ice Floes in Northern Waters Early This Morning—Passengers of Ill-fated Craft To Be Landed At Halifax Following Rescue By Steamer Virginia.


Note to readers: Below is an excerpt from the story, word for word, that ran in this newspaper on April 16, 1912.

NEW YORK, April 16 — A wireless message picked up late Monday night, relayed from the Olympic, says that the Carpathia is on its way to New York with 866 passengers from the steamer Titanic. They are mostly women and children, the message said and it concluded:

“Grave fears are felt for the safety of the balance of the passengers and crew.”

“Carpathia reached Titanic position at daybreak.

“Found boats and wreckage only.

“Titanic sank about 2:20 a.m., in 41:16 N.; 50:14 W.

“All her boats accounted for containing about 875 souls saved, crew and passengers included.

“Nearly all saved women and children.

“Leyland liner California remained and searching exact position of disaster.

“Loss likely totals 1,800 souls.

“Haddock, commanding W

HALIFAX, N. S., April 15 —The Canadian government marine agency here at 4:15 p.m. received a wireless dispatch that the Titanic is sinking.

The message came via the cable ship Minla off Cape Race. It said that the steamers towing the Titanic were endeavoring to get her into shoal water near Capo Race for the purpose of beaching her.

MONTREAL, April 15 —The local office of Horton Davidson, one of the Titanic passengers, has received the following wireless message: “All passengers are safe and Titanic taken in tow by the Virginian.”


To Land at Halifax

NEW HAVEN, Conn., April 15 — The operating officers of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railway company have been notified that the passengers of the Titanic will be landed at Halifax. There will be about six hundred passengers requiring transportation to New York by sleeping cars and some eight hundred by ordinary coaches.

NEW YORK, April 15 – Officials of the White Star line had received no word here at eight o’clock this morning other than from the press dispatches of the reported accident to the Titanic. They were unable to understand why they had not received some direct dispatch from the Titanic. The following statement was made by one of the officers of the company:

“Twelve hours have passed since the collision was reported to have taken place and we have heard nothing of the accident. It is most strange that the Titanic’s sister ship Olympic, which has a wireless apparatus of sufficient strength to send a message across the Atlantic, has sent us nothing."

 Left Last Saturday

The Olympic left here last Saturday and this morning is 60 miles away from the Titanic. The Olympic should be alongside the Titanic at two o’clock this afternoon. The Olympic has been notified of the reported accident. A wireless message from the Titanic received shortly after midnight announced the liner had struck an iceberg off the banks of New Foundland and was in a sinking condition. Transfer of the passengers to the life boats began at once. The accident occurred to the Titanic last night. Two hours later the ship’s wireless apparatus which had been working so badly to permit of only intermittent and fragmentary messages, failed completely.

 “Sinking by Head"

The last words sent by the operator told that the vessel was apparently doomed, “sinking by the head,” and that the women passengers were being rushed into the life boats. A reassuring feature was that the weather was calm and clear and help was only a few hours away. The titanic’s first S. O. S. message was received by the Allen liner Virginian, which, according to the position given by the Titanic’s opjerator was not more than 170 miles away. The captain of the Virginian at once started his boat at full speed for the scene of the disaster, announcing to his brother officer on the bridge of the Titanic that the Virginian should reach him by ten o’clock this morning.

 Accident in North

The Titanic’s accident happened in latitude 41.46 north; longitude 50:14 west. This point is about 1,150 miles due east of New York city and 450 miles south of Cape Race, New Foundland, wireless station. All the messages from the shin were relayed to the Cape Race wireless station by the Virginian and forwarded by the Marconi company to New oYrk. The Titanic’s twin ship, Olympic, which left New York last week, was also in direct communication with the sinking boat from a point about 300 miles away and started at once for the scene

On Maiden Trip

The Titanic, which is on her maiden trip, is in charge of Captain Smith, who was on the bridge of the big Olympic when that boat collided with the British cruiser Hawke last September. The Titanic carries 1,470 passengers, of whom 318 are in the first cabin and 262 in the second cabin.

The passenger list is a notable one, including Mr. and Mrs. John Jacob Astor; Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt, Major Archibald Butt, aide to President Taft; F. D. Millet, the artist, Mr. and Mrs. Issadore Strauss, J. G. Widener, of Philadelphia, J. Bruce Ismay, managing director of the White Star line, C. M. Hays, president of the Grand Trunk railway, Benjamin Guggenheim, W. T. Stead and others.

Steamship men here today characterized the disaster as “the most startling news which has come in from the sea since the advent of wireless telegraphy.”

Receives Wireless Messages

The first heard of the accident was about one o’clock this morning when a bulletin from Montreal stated that the Allen line of steamships there had received a wireless from Captain Gambell of their steamer Virginian, stating that the Titanic was calling for assistance after a collision with an iceberg. The Virginian’s captain added he was heading his boat for the Titanic, whose position was said to be about 350 miles south of Cape Race, N. F.

Immediate inquiry by the Associated Press in an urgent dispatch to the Marconi station at Cape Race was answered soon afterwards in the following words: “At 10:25 last night the steamship Titantic called ‘C. Q. D.,’ and reported having struck an iceberg. The steamer said that immediate assistance was required. Half an hour afterward another message came reporting they were sinking by the head and that women were being put off in the lifeboats.

Weather is Clear

“The weather was calm and clear, the Titanic wireless operator reported: and he gave the position vessel as 41:46 north latitude 50:14 west longitude. The Marconi at Cape Race notified the Allen liner Virginian, the captain of which immediately advised that he was proceeding for the scene of the disaster."

“The Virginian at midnight was about 170 miles from the Titanic and expected to reach that vessel about 10 a. m., Monday."

“The Olympic at midnight was in latitude 40:32 north and longitude 61:18 west. She was in direct communication with the Titanic and is now making all haste toward her. The steamship Baltic also reported herself as about 200 miles east of the Titantic at 1:15 a. m., and making all possible speed toward her."

Delay in Reserve

The fact that at best the Virginian, which appeared to be nearest to the Titanic, could not roach her until 10 o’clock this morning, however, only added to the anxiety of those here who had friends on board. The bare report that the vessel was sinking at the bow at midnight, that women were being taken off in lifeboats then and that half an hour later, wireless communication was broken, were all viewed with the utmost anxiety. There was excellent reason, however, for belief that even though the Titanic was in dire straits, there was a fair chance that no lives would be lost. The Cape Race dispatch reported the weather as calm and clear and in a reasonably quiet set there is little danger in the transfer of passengers to the life boats in which they might await with reasonable tranquility the arrival of the Virginian this morning.

Hard to Fathom Message

It was difficult for even mariners to interpret the situation from the Marconi dispatches. They could not understand why it should be necessary to take off any passengers if the liner were sinking slightly at the bow unless her captain felt that the watertight compartments would give way.

Read more from the series: From the Archives

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