Questions - Observation from Lifeboats


A

Aaron_2016

Guest
While reading survivor accounts I noticed that several men and women had their backs to the Titanic and only turned when they heard the explosions and witnessed the Titanic's final moments. It made me realize that many, perhaps most of the occupants in the lifeboats had a limited view of the sinking owing to their seating position.

e.g.


Most of the lifeboats rowed away when they realized the Titanic was going down. This would mean those near the tiller had their backs to the Titanic and possibly those rowing away as well, and the people who were facing the ship were possibly near the bow of each lifeboat and they would have to look between the crowd and over their heads to see what was happening to the Titanic as she went down.



"She's going down....Pull.....Pull.....Pull.....Keep pulling!"

lifeboatperspective.png



lifeboatp1.png



It would be harder to observe what was happening in the lifeboats that were crowded. The women at the bow of this boat would have to stand up and unsettle the boat if they wanted to see what was happened to the ship.


perspective.png


I think the people rowing would also have trouble focusing on the Titanic. If they were facing her as they pulled way they would be constantly rocking their bodies back and forward and looking at the other rowers to make sure they were rowing in sync with each other. Overall I have to wonder if only a tiny minority in each lifeboat actually observed what happened from start to finish owing to their seating position. It could explain why there are so many discrepancies in their testimony.

e.g.

Survivor 1 - Seated with their back to Titanic. They hear an explosion and turn to see the bow take a violent lurch and the stern break off.

Survivor 2 - Seated facing the Titanic but is obstructed by the heads and bodies of other people in the lifeboat. They hear the explosion and try to look ahead. They see the stern sticking up in the air with lights blazing. Someone immediately blocks their view. A few moments later they get another clear view again and see the stern still sticking up in the air with lights off and plunging down into the sea. They mistakenly think she sank intact.

Survivor 3 - Seated facing the Titanic with no obstruction blocking them. They see the entire break up and the settling back and the lights remaining on the stern. They see the stern rise again and the lights going out and the stern plunging down.


A similar comparison is the destruction of the World Trade Center. Some saw the plane, and some didn't (depending on which side of the building they were looking at.) Some thought it was a small plane, while others said it was big, and some heard an explosion when it collapsed, while others heard a rumble.

Does it all really depend on angle and perspective?


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T Gerard

Member
Feb 26, 2019
41
8
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There's a channel I found on Youtube (I don't know if the person whose channel it is also is a member of this site, but if you are and you read this, I really like your channel) called Titanic Animations, and they have several videos in a series they call "Titanic Sinking: Survivors What They Saw" and it's basically like you asked, based on what lifeboat a particular survivor was in what his or her angle would have been looking back at the ship during its final moments.

A lot of it does seem like what angle were you looking at the ship from and how far away from the ship were you. Considering how pitch black dark the night was, I can sort of understand how maybe some of the earlier lifeboats that would have had more time to row away might have had a harder time seeing the ship split apart, or other events during the final moments.

I think what you yourself were doing at the time had a lot to do with it what you saw and remembered. I used to think Lightoller simply was lying about insisting the ship sank intact but now I'm beginning to wonder if perhaps he was distracted trying to climb onto and stay balanced on the overturned Collapsible B, while being so cold from having been swimming in the frigid water, that he didn't notice the breakup.

 
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Scott Mills

Member
Jul 10, 2008
668
74
98
42
Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
While reading survivor accounts I noticed that several men and women had their backs to the Titanic and only turned when they heard the explosions and witnessed the Titanic's final moments. It made me realize that many, perhaps most of the occupants in the lifeboats had a limited view of the sinking owing to their seating position.

e.g.


Most of the lifeboats rowed away when they realized the Titanic was going down. This would mean those near the tiller had their backs to the Titanic and possibly those rowing away as well, and the people who were facing the ship were possibly near the bow of each lifeboat and they would have to look between the crowd and over their heads to see what was happening to the Titanic as she went down.



"She's going down....Pull.....Pull.....Pull.....Keep pulling!"

View attachment 39380


View attachment 39382


It would be harder to observe what was happening in the lifeboats that were crowded. The women at the bow of this boat would have to stand up and unsettle the boat if they wanted to see what was happened to the ship.


View attachment 39381

I think the people rowing would also have trouble focusing on the Titanic. If they were facing her as they pulled way they would be constantly rocking their bodies back and forward and looking at the other rowers to make sure they were rowing in sync with each other. Overall I have to wonder if only a tiny minority in each lifeboat actually observed what happened from start to finish owing to their seating position. It could explain why there are so many discrepancies in their testimony.

e.g.

Survivor 1 - Seated with their back to Titanic. They hear an explosion and turn to see the bow take a violent lurch and the stern break off.

Survivor 2 - Seated facing the Titanic but is obstructed by the heads and bodies of other people in the lifeboat. They hear the explosion and try to look ahead. They see the stern sticking up in the air with lights blazing. Someone immediately blocks their view. A few moments later they get another clear view again and see the stern still sticking up in the air with lights off and plunging down into the sea. They mistakenly think she sank intact.

Survivor 3 - Seated facing the Titanic with no obstruction blocking them. They see the entire break up and the settling back and the lights remaining on the stern. They see the stern rise again and the lights going out and the stern plunging down.


A similar comparison is the destruction of the World Trade Center. Some saw the plane, and some didn't (depending on which side of the building they were looking at.) Some thought it was a small plane, while others said it was big, and some heard an explosion when it collapsed, while others heard a rumble.

Does it all really depend on angle and perspective?


.
At 6 feet 5 inches tall, I would have had no problem viewing Titanic founder from a life boat. :D