Britannic elevator casualty


Remco Hillen

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Jan 6, 2001
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Hello,

I've recently come across the following bit of information; which I thought would be of interest to post here.
I've always assumed that all the deaths during the Britannic sinking were caused by the smashing of 2 boats by the port propellor and the injuries because of it; but apparently that wasn't completely true.

The following comes from an account of Britannic's 4th Officer Duncan McTavish:

"Thursday, November 23.
Captain Bartlett and the purser called the roll. We then, for the first time, learned how things had gone. Of the Deck and Engineer Officers, only one was unaccounted for. This was the Chief Electrician, who was trapped in a lift through the power failing when the lift was between two decks. .."



Using an elevator; not one of the smartest things to do on a sinking ship!

I'm not quite convinced that the power failed as they say; it could also be that the elevator refused work due to the ships list. Does anyone have any info concerning this on those elevators?

Regards,
Remco
 
Dec 7, 2000
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Remco,

I'm a little vague on the elevators at the moment, but if I remember correctly, I think I once read a note on Olympic's elevators which said that there was some kind of shut off that occured when the list was too great. Which is why the elevators were shut off during really bad weather. I might be wrong about it. If I find the account/report ever again I will post particulars. Perhaps there was no power failure on the Britannic, but it is possible that the list became too great for the machinery to pull the elevator cab up or allow it to descend.

Daniel.
 

Remco Hillen

Member
Jan 6, 2001
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Hello Daniel,

The reason why I doubt the power failure is the 'Accumulator Room' up on A-deck, near the Smoke Room.
Apart from a series of batteries, there would also have been 2 generators there which would power the 'emergency circuit' when the 'normal' power failed. Things that would have been in this circuit are the Marconi apparatus, hoisting gear for the lifeboats, lighting for important areas etc. I assume that the elevators would also have been attached to this circuit, though I can't be 100% sure about that.

I hope you'll be able to find that report back
happy.gif


Regards,
Remco
 
Dec 7, 2000
1,348
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Remco,

I don't know if the elevators would be part of the circuit. Elevators were generally shut down in emergency situations. Things on Britannic happened reasonably fast so if people were still using the elevators when the power went they may have been trapped, perhaps the elevators were not part of the emergency circuit.

Daniel.
 

Remco Hillen

Member
Jan 6, 2001
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Hmm...well, the power might as well fail during a normal voyage; although that would not be too common I assume/hope!. For such cases, it would be logical to have the elevators connected to the emergency circuit. Having several 1st, and 2nd, class passengers locked up in a elevator cab for some time would not be good for public relations!
blush.gif


Also, considering the placement of the electric generators aft in the ship, it wouldn't be too logical to have a power failure during the first stages of the sinking; perhaps only during the final stages. As with Titanic. But then again, on a sinking ship everything is possible...

What would shutting down the elevators exactly mean? Did it mean the power supply to the elevators was cut-off, or, does it give a scene like the Cameron Titanic movie, where someone would stop people from entering the elevator or close the gates?

So many questions
crazy.gif


Regards,
Remco
 
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A

Alex McLean

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Many people were trapped in elevators when the Lusitania went down. I haven't traveled in one for ages now anyway. Ever since I was 5, I have refused to go in them, especially now after 9/11. These stories just make me feel ill when I read them, it would be one of the worst ways to die - trapped in an enclosed space such as an elevator. I also refuse to use the underground railway systems, so I guess I am claustrophobic.
 
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