New York Times

Rostron Tells How the Carpathia Did Work of Rescue
Just before the Carpathia sailed yesterday afternoon on her interrupted voyage to the Mediterranean, Capt. Rostron, her commander, gave out what he declared to be the first and only statement he has made since he brought the Titanic's survivors into port. He narrates in official style the receiving of the Titanic's call for help, the race to the scene, and the picking up of the survivors and their care on board.

He commends the rescued for their plucky behavior, and especially commends to the notice of the Cunard Line the conduct of the men under him. He has also words of praise for his passengers. This is his report:

"I beg to report that at 12:35 A. M. Monday, 15th inst., I was informed of urgent message from Titanic, with her position. I immediately ordered ship turned around and put her in course for that position, we being then fifty-eight miles E. 52-1, 'T'(true course] from her; had heads of all departments called and issued what I considered the necessary orders, to be in preparation for any emergency.

"At 2:40 A. M. saw flare half a point on port bow. Taking this for granted to be ship, shortly after we sighted our first iceberg. I had previously had lookouts doubled, knowing that Titanic had struck ice, and so took every care and precaution. We soon found ourselves in a field of bergs, large and small, and had to alter course several times to clear bergs. Weather fine and clear, light airs on sea, beautifully clear night, though dark.

"We stopped at 4 A. M., thus doing the distance in three hours and a half, picking up the first boat at 4:10 A. M., boat in charge of officer, and he reported that the Titanic had foundered. At 8:39 A. M. last boat picked up. All survivors aboard and all boats accounted for, viz.: Fifteen lifeboats, one boat abandoned, two Berthon boats alongside, (saw one floating among wreckage,) and, according to second officer, (senior officer saved,) one Berthon boat had not been launched, it having got jammed, making sixteen lifeboats and four Berthon boats accounted for.

“By the time we had cleared the first boat it was breaking day, and I could see all within an area of four miles. We also saw that we were surrounded by icebergs, large and small, and three miles to the northwest was a huge field of drift ice with large and small bergs in it the ice field trending from northwest around west and south to southeast, as far as we could see either way.

"At 8 A. M. the Leland [sic] steamship California [sic] came up. I gave him the principal news and asked him to search and I would proceed to New York; at 8:50 proceeded full speed, while searching over vicinity of disaster, and while we were getting peopl [sic] aboard I gav [sic] orders to get spare hands along and swing in all our boats, disconnect the fall, and hoist up as many Titanic boats as possible in our davits; also, get some on fo'castle heads by derricks. We got thirteen lifeboats, six on forward deck, and seven in davits. After getting all the survivors aboard, and while searching, I got a clergyman to offer a short prayer of thankfulness for those saved, and also a short burial service for their loss, in the saloon.

"Before deciding definitely where to make for, I conferred with Mr. Ismay, and though he told me to do what I thought best, I informed him, taking everything into consideration, I considered New York best. I knew we should require clean blankets, provisions, and clean linen, even if we went to the Azores, as most of the passengers saved were women and children, and they hysterical; not knowing what medical attention they might require, thought it best to go to New York. I also thought it would be better for Mr. Ismay to get to New York or England as soon as possible, and knowing I should be out of wireless communication very soon if I proceeded to the Azores, it left Halifax, Boston, and New York, so I choose the latter.

"Again, passengers were all hysterical about ice, and I pointed out to Mr. Ismay the possibilities of seeing ice if I went to Halifax. Then I knew from the gravity of the disaster that it would be best to keep in touch with land stations as best I could. We have experienced very great difficulty in transmitting news, also names of survivors. Our wireless is very poor, and again we had so many interruptions from other ships and also messages from ashore, principally press which we ignored.

I gave instructions to send first all official messages, then names of passengers, then survivors' private messages and the press messages, as I considered the three first items most important and necessary. We had haze early Tuesday morning for several hours; again more or less all Wednesday from 5:30 A. M. to 5 P. M., strong south-southwesterly winds and clear weather Thursday with moderate rough sea.

“I am pleased to say that all survivors have been very plucky. The majority of women, first, second, and third class, lost their husbands, and, considering all, have been wonderfully well. Tuesday our doctor reported all survivors physically well. Our first-class passengers have behaved splendidly, giving up their cabins voluntarily, and supplying the ladies with clothing, &c. We all turned out of our cabins and gave them to survivors, saloon, smoking room, library, &c., also being used for sleeping accommodations.

“Our crew also turned out to let the crew of the Titanic take their quarters. I am pleased to state that, owing to preparations made for the comfort of survivors, none was the worse for exposure, &c. I beg to specialty mention how willing and cheerful the whole of the ship's company behaved, receiving the highest praise from everybody. And I can assure you I am very proud to have such a company under my command.

“Captain of the R. M. S. Carpathia.”

Related Biographies:

Arthur Henry Rostron

Relates to Ship:



Mark Baber


Encyclopedia Titanica (2004) CAPTAIN'S OFFICIAL REPORTS (New York Times, Saturday 20th April 1912, ref: #3668, published 3 September 2004, generated 1st June 2020 02:58:53 PM); URL :