This post will explain about the Titanic's final moments. If you haven't already, you may want to read about the events leading up to this moment, for April 14th and April 15th. This post continues through the early morning hours of the 15th.
The ship had severed itself into two pieces, breaking off from each other as the Titanic went below into the depths of the sea. Both the bow and stern sections hurdled down to the murky bottom of the ocean, going at a rate of approximately 30 miles per hour, hitting bottom only 2.5 miles below.
Cries and screams pierced through the air that night. Some were from people in the water, drowning. The heart-rending noises also came women and men safely on the lifeboats, calling out for their family members, hoping to find them either in the water or in another lifeboat. A small handful of the 1500 people that were floating in the water had enough stamina to make it to the boats, but the water was so cold, most could barely move. The minutes ticked by, and the cries were quieting down. Hypothermia was settling in, and within just 20 minutes, several of the people who were immersed in the freezing water had died. By the time 40 minutes passed after the Titanic disappeared, all was quiet.
Now, as the passengers sat in the lifeboats, they could do nothing except wait, pray, and console each other. They passed around any extra blankets, handkerchiefs, or napkins that could cover someone's ears or hands. So, they waited, hoping to expect a ship to rescue them, but they couldn't be sure if one would come.
The minutes ticked by, but each minute was like an eternity. A little over an hour after the Titanic's sinking at 2:20am, some of the people saw a light streak across the sky, and a few of them realized it was a rocket fired from a nearby ship. It was coming to their rescue! But still they had to wait another half hour for the Carpathia, to arrive in the vicinity of the lifeboats at 4:00am. The people aboard the lifeboats had been rowing towards the new ship when they first sighted it approaching, but still the lifeboats were spread out over a range of 4 miles. The Carpathia had only 1 smokestack, which tells you how its size compared to that of the Titanic's, which had 4 smokestacks. Regardless, there was still plenty of room to take on the 700 survivors scattered across the sea. Some of the Carpathia's own passengers were even kind enough to give up their rooms to create a more comfortable place for the freezing people who were coming aboard. Hot drinks and foods were served to the survivors, names were collected, and families were reunited. Wives waited at the rails, hoping their husbands would be on the next lifeboat that would be pulled in next. Many of these men never appeared.
Captain Rostron (of the Carpathia) searched the waters for more remaining survivors, but found none. Before the ship left the area of the Titanic's grave, with the 1500 souls that had been lost there, he held a memorial service in honor of them. Finally, when nothing else could be done in the middle of the ocean, the Carpathia was directed back to New York.
This ends my 3-part post about that night between April 14-15, 1912. Overall, this sinking itself took place in 2 hours & 40 minutes, from first impact with the iceberg, to becoming a wreck at the bottom of the sea. More hours were added to the tragedy as the people in the lifeboats waited for their rescue, and even after they did get on the Carpathia, the story doesn't end there. More is still to be told about the Titanic. Details coming tomorrow on my blog.
Soon, the entire world would hear the news that The Floating Palace was no longer afloat.