Collapsible Boat B (port) Edit

By 2:15 am, Lightoller, Moody and others were struggling to retrieve Collapsible Boats A and B from their places of storage on the roof of the officers' quarters. They rigged up makeshift ramps from oars and spars down which they slid the boats onto the Boat Deck. Unfortunately for all concerned, the boat broke through the ramp and landed on the deck upside-down.[1] It reached the Boat Deck upside-down but there was no time to right it as Titanic began her final break-up and plunge to the seabed. Water swept across the Boat Deck, washing the upside-down lifeboat and many people into the sea.[2] Wireless operator Harold Bride found himself trapped underneath the overturned hull. Titanics increasing angle in the water caused the stays supporting the forward funnel to snap and it toppled into the water, crushing swimmers beneath it and washing Collapsible B away from the sinking ship.[3] As Titanic went under, the lifeboat was left in the midst of hundreds of people swimming in the water. Several dozen people climbed onto its hull , including Lightoller, who took charge of it. Also aboard were Jack Thayer, and Archibald Gracie. Bride managed to escape from the air pocket beneath the boat and made it onto the hull.[4]


Collapsible Boat B, found adrift by the ship Mackay-Bennett during its mission to recover the bodies of those who died in the disaster

Those aboard Collapsible B suffered greatly during the course of the night. The boat gradually sank lower into the water as the air pocket underneath it leaked away. The sea began to get up towards dawn, causing the boat to rock in the swell and lose more of its precious air. Lightoller organised the men on the hull to stand up in two parallel rows on either side of the centreline, facing the bow, and got them to sway in unison to counteract the rocking motion caused by the swell. They were directly exposed to the freezing seawater, first up to their feet, then to their ankles and finally to their knees as the boat subsided in the water. For some, the ordeal proved too much and one by one they collapsed, fell into the water and died. Only 14 were left alive by the morning and were transferred into other lifeboats before being rescued by Carpathia.[2]

Notes Edit

  1. Butler 1998, p. 131.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Wormstedt & Fitch 2011, p. 142.
  3. Butler 1998, p. 134.
  4. Butler 1998, p. 142.