If this seems like an extreme scenario, it should be remembered that there were reports that an officer had to drive a group of crewmen from one of the collapsible lifeboats.quote:
Mr. STENGEL. My judgement about the officers is that when they were loading I think they were cool. I think so far as the loading of the boats after the accident was concerned, sir, they showed very good judgment. I think they were very cool. They calmed the passengers by making them believe it was not a serious accident. In fact, most of them, after they got on board the Carpathia, said they expected to go back the next day and get aboard the Titanic again. I heard that explained afterwards by an officer of the ship, when he said, "Suppose we had reported the damage that was done to that vessel; there would not be one of you aboard. The stewards would have come up" - not the stewards, but the stokers - "would have come up and taken every boat, and no one would have had a chance of getting aboard of those boats."
There were examples in recent history in which passengers and crew had panicked, and the result - at least as far as the Titanic's crew understood it - had been a Darwinian struggle for survival. Stories abounded of the wreck of a French vessel for which there was a sole female survivor.quote:
...an almost complete absence of knowledge on any point. I think this was the result of deliberate judgement on the part of the officers, and perhaps, it was the best thing that could be done. In particular, he must remember that the ship was a sixth of a mile long, with passengers on three decks open to the sea, and port and starboard sides to each deck: he will then get some idea of the difficulty presented to the officers of keeping control over such a large area, and the imossibility of any one knownin what was happening except in his own immediate vicinity.