Worcester Telegram

Wireless Operator Was Undressing with Receiver on His Ear When "S.O.S." Flashed

New York, April 19.- Capt. Rostron of the Carpathia told the tragic story of his rescue of the Titanic survivors to the Senate committee this afternoon.

"Thell [sic] the committee all that happened after you left New York," said Chairman Smith to Capt. Rostron.

"We backed out of the dock at noon Thursday," he said. "Up to Sunday midnight we had fine clear weather. At 12.35 Monday morning I was informed of the urgent distress signal from the Titanic."

"By whom?"

"The wireless operator and first officer. The message was that the Titanic was in immediate danger.

"I gave the order to turn the ship around as soon as Titanic had given her position. I set a course to pick up the Titanic, which was 58 miles west of my position.

"I sent for the chief engineer: told him to put on another watch of stokers and make all speed for the Titanic. I told the first officer to stop all deck work, get out the lifeboats and be ready for any emergency. The chief steward and doctors of the Carpathia I called to m y office and instructed them to their duties. The English doctor was assigned to the first-class dining room, the Italian to the second class dining room, and the Hungarian doctor the third-class dining-room. They were instructed to be ready with all supplies necessary for any emergency."

Arriving on the scene of the accident, Capt. Rostron testified he saw an iceberg straight ahead of him and stopping at 4 a.m. ten minutes later he picked up the first life boat. The officer sang out he had only one seaman on board and was having difficulty in manning his boat.

"By the time I got the boat aboard, day was breaking." said the captain. In a radius of four miles I saw all the other life boats. On all sides of us were icebergs, some twenty were 150 to 200 feet high and numerous small icebergs or growlers. Wreckage was strewn about us. At 8:30 all the Titanic's survivors were aboard."

Capt. Rostron said that the Carpathia had 20 lifeboats of her own, in accordance with British regulations.

"Wouldn't that indicate that the regulations are out of date, your ship being much smaller than the Titanic, which also carried 20 lifeboats?" Senator Smith asked.

"No. The Titanic was supposed to be a life-boat herself. We carried more life-boats in proportion to our tonnage and capacity, because we were built differently from the Titanic."

In discussing the strength of the Carpathia's wireless, Capt. Rostron said the Carpathia was only 58 miles from the Titanic when the call for help came.

"Providential" explained Representative Hughes no longer able to control his emotion.

"Providential!" repeated the captain. "The whole thing. Our wireless operator was not on duty, but as he was undressing he had his apparatus to his ear. Ten minutes later, he would have been in bed and we never would have heard."

Related Biographies:

Arthur Henry Rostron
Senator Smith

Relates to Ship:



Julie Dowen


Encyclopedia Titanica (2004) CAPT ROSTRON'S TRAGIC STORY (Worcester Telegram, Saturday 20th April 1912, ref: #2979, published 29 May 2004, generated 16th April 2021 01:04:37 AM); URL :