By Sue Schuurman
APRIL 20, 1998:
86 Years Ago This Week:
On April 14, 1912, the "unsinkable" ocean liner Titanic struck an iceberg, and within a few hours, on April 15 to be precise, sunk to her grave two miles below the surface. News of how many passengers survived and the list of actual names were wired from the rescue ship Carpathia to New York and published nationwide the following day. However, these lists varied in terms of number of survivors and names for the next several days. It wasn't until April 19 when Carpathia reached port that newspaper accounts could be based on eyewitness testimony--via interviews with survivors--rather than speculation. With today's 24-7 news coverage and satellite broadcasts, it's difficult to imagine waiting almost a week to verify if your loved one was among the survivors.
"NEW YORK, April 16--Only a faint hope remains tonight that any of the 1,312 passengers and crew who have been missing since the giant Titanic sank have been picked up by transatlantic liners.
"The 868 survivors rescued from life-boats by the Cunarder Carpathia, now on her way to New York, are the only known saved.
"The brief and meager wireless 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 sent word that they had none of the Titanic's survivors on board. ...
"'We are waiting for a complete list of the names of the survivors and until this is received we can give no definite information.'
"This was the only answer given today at the White Star offices here to the hundreds of anxious persons who gathered there seeking information regarding relatives and friends who were on the Titanic.
"From early morning until late tonight pathetic scenes were witnessed in lower Broadway and in Bowling Green park, opposite the steamship offices. Hundreds of inquiries were received also by long distance telephone. ...
"Newspaper men were besieged by the inquirers who could not believe that the White Star officers were giving out all the news of the disaster. ...
"There was a constant procession of automobiles and taxicabs and women from Fifth avenue and the Bowery mingled together in the foyer of the building while they scanned the bulletins. ...
"'If you have any definite news that my brother has lost his life,' one woman said, 'do relieve this terrible suspense by telling me the truth.' ... "
Source: Albuquerque Morning Journal; April 17, 1912
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