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Sinking angle/funnels falling

Discussion in 'Collision / Sinking Theories' started by LukeW17, Oct 3, 2017.

  1. LukeW17

    LukeW17 Member

    Hi everyone new here but been interested in Titanic for a long time. I have been doing a lot of research lately into the ship and the sinking but there is always contradicting facts that always seem to crop up and I’d like good confirmation about them, if possible.

    Firstly, were all four funnels upright when the ship broke? A lot of survivor testimony’s seem to suggest so, and does this confirm a low angle break? I have lately thought a low angle break is the most realistic outcome.
    If the first funnel had already fallen before she broke, do you lot believe the maximum stress was 23 degrees before the ship broke up?

    Another question that bothers me is the fact that the ship had a 10 degree port list but the first funnel is described as falling onto the starboard side, many survivors have said this but how is this possible? Unless she righted herself after the water reached the bridge.

    Sorry to go on but one more thing: many survivors including Lightoller said the ship turned round over the water with the propellers and rudder out of the water, obviously after the ship broke up. Skidmore’s drawings from the Carpathia also suggest this - do you think this happened? I believe it did, but all CGI theories seem to ignore this.

    Thanks for the replies. Luke.
  2. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Member

    Happy to welcome you aboard. Your interest and contributions will always be welcome here. To answer your question, the list to port had reached such a significant stage near the end that it made it very difficult to lower the last boat.

    Colonel Gracie said:
    "When we were loading the last boat, just a short time before it was fully loaded, a palpable list toward the port side began, and the officer called out, "All passengers to the starboard side."

    Samuel Hemming said:
    "The captain was there, and he sung out: "Everyone over to the starboard side, to keep the ship up as long as possible."

    Albert Pearcey was in Collapsible C which left the ship very close to the final moments. He was asked:

    Q - Did you see the vessel go down?
    A - Yes.
    Q - Were you facing her when she went down?
    A - Yes.
    Q - Did you notice when you rowed away whether the ship had any list?
    A - Yes, the ship had a list on her port side.
    Q - Did you notice whether she was down by the head?
    A - No, I did not notice.
    Q - Did you notice whether she appeared to be going deeper into the water forward? Did you notice that?
    A - No.
    Q - Then you rowed away?
    A - Yes.

    * He was watching the ship as she approached her final moments and yet he did not notice the ship was sinking by the bow.

    * 4th officer Boxhall was in a lifeboat near the stern and he realized the ship was going to sink when he saw her stern getting very low in the water, and he told the Inquiry - "The ship was settling bodily."

    * 2nd officer Lightoller said:
    "I think the ship righted. When the order was given to the passengers to go to the starboard side I am under the impression that a great many went over and the ship got a righting movement and maintained it."

    I believe the break up was starting and this caused the bow to right itself.

    * Now comes the explosive sound which broke the ship in two. Several survivors estimated this explosion took place up to 20 minutes before the ship went down. Members of the crew testified that it occurred before the ship sank.

    Quartermaster Rowe
    "It was not an ordinary explosion, you understand; more like distant thunder."
    Q - Was that before or after the ship sank?
    A - Before she sank, sir.
    Q - Were there more than one of those explosions?
    A - I only heard the one, sir.
    Q - It was while she was still floating that you heard the explosions?
    A - Heard this rumbling sound, sir.
    Q - You are quite sure of that, are you?
    A - Positive, sir.

    Quartmaster Olliver:

    Q - Did you hear explosions?
    A - I heard several little explosions, but it was not such explosions as I expected to hear.
    Q - Were these before or after she sank?
    A - Before she sank and while she was sinking.

    *Survivors in the lifeboats turned and looked at the ship when they heard the explosive sound.

    Emily Ryerson said:
    "Then suddenly, when we still seemed very near, we saw the ship was sinking rapidly. I was in the bow of the boat with my daughter and turned to see the great ship take a plunge toward the bow, the two forward funnels seemed to lean and then she seemed to break in half as if cut with a knife."

    * Edward Brown was in the water in front of the First funnel and saw the ship break in two. He was asked the following:

    Q - Did you notice whether the bow broke off?
    A - With the first report of that explosion I saw the afterpart of the ship giving a tremble like this (showing), and I thought by the afterpart going up like this (showing), and giving a bit of a tremble that the bow had fallen off. I might be wrong.
    Q - But that was your conclusion from it?
    A - Yes.
    Q - I suppose your opportunities for observation were not very good at this time?
    A - No. That part was practically under water then.
    Q - When the afterpart gave this tremble, where were you then?
    A - In the water; right before the forward funnel.
    Q - Did you notice whether the lights of this afterpart were still lighted or not?
    A - There were lights burning then.
    Q - Could you see that?
    A - Yes.

    * He believed the entire forward section was almost underwater when he saw the ship break and he was in front of the First funnel when it happened. His evidence and Pearcey's evidence I believe show that the ship was sinking bodily with probably a slight downward trim that was barely noticeable before she broke. In fact Charles Joughin said the following:

    "I did not notice anything. I did not notice her being much down by the head."
    Q - Do you mean that the list to port was more serious than than being down by the head?
    A - I thought so, yes.

    * Now we come to the collapse of the Forward funnel. Charles Lightoller said the following:

    "The terrific strain of bringing the after end of that huge hull clear out of the water caused the expansion joint abaft number 1 funnel to open up. The fact that the two wire stays to this funnel on the after part led over and abaft the expansion joint, threw on them an extraordinary strain, eventually carrying away the port wire guy, to be followed almost immediately by the starboard one. Instantly the port one parted, the funnel started to fall, but the fact that the starboard one held a moment or two longer, gave this huge structure a pull over to that side of the ship."

    * Now we sadly come to the screams. If the stern was steadily rising into the air and the ship was still intact then the screams should have been heard before she broke, but that is not what was heard.

    Ruth Becker said:
    "There was a terrible explosion, and that's when I thought the boat broke in half, and that's when the people started jumping into the water and screaming. That's when they screamed. It was terrible."

    * I believe all of this points to the conclusion that the Titanic sank bodily fore and aft with a strong list to port. Something happened and the ship buckled and broke. Possibly the water that had entered the port side cabins and had travelled up the Scotland road corridor had then accessed larger rooms which expanded across to the port and starboard side. Filling these rooms would cause the ship to roll back and reduced the port list, and possibly the strain of rolling back caused her plates to buckle, especially as the pressures outside the ship were terrific and when the bow section rolled back it may have tore open plates as the stern section resisted or was sluggish when it failed to roll back with the bow at the same speed, which caused more plates to buckle open. This would cause masses of water to enter the middle of the ship and break the ship in two. The two sections would act independently. The bow section keeled back and righted itself and the stern section keeled heavily over to port and practically onto its side. The bow section took a violent lurch forwards and the two forward funnels were seen to lean forward while still remaining intact as the bow broke and took a sudden plunge. The bow rebounded as masses of water rushed into the broken section. The stern canted upwards into the air and corkscrewed around. While this was happening Lightoller was sucked under with the bow section. When he reached the surface he saw the stern was facing the opposite way. This I believe is additional evidence that supports the theory that the ship broke much sooner and was completely unexpected as the crew were still trying to lower the last collapsible using the conventional means they had when there was a sudden explosive sound and the bow took a sudden lurch forward. Had they believed the ship was rapidly sinking head down and was just moments away from tipping her bow they would not have attempted to lower the boat in the conventional way.

    Last edited: Oct 3, 2017
    sir john adams likes this.
  3. LukeW17

    LukeW17 Member

    Thank you for the detailed reply mate I am glad to be a member on this website, I have only recently found it. I do have more questions to ask in the future.

    Yes I agree, a low angle break up seems likely even though in James Cameron’s Final Word documentary the first funnel was shown to collapse before the break and the maximum stress was 23 degrees and the stern pivoting round was ignored - I still don’t understand how it can be overlooked when even the likes of Charles Lightoller said it.

    Another curious thing is the front of the bow rising up after the ship broke. I don’t know much about physics but I know this is physically impossible, but how come several survivors said this happened - what were they looking at to assume this happened?

  4. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Member

    Cheers. Three possibilities. Charles Joughin was in his cabin way down on E-deck and he said the large Scotland road corridor was more or less completely dry when he left, and that was shortly before the ship broke in two. This means there were large volumes of unflooded decks from decks A, B, C, D, E. With little downward tilt and with a strong list to port could also mean the starboard side rooms and corridors were mostly dry as well when she broke. The theory that the flooding of boiler room 6 would cause water to rise up to E-deck and spill into boiler room 5 did not happen. Fred Barrett was in boiler room 5 and he said the water from number 6 did not spill over the top. He said there was a knocking sound and the water burst in directly from number 6 into number 5. There is speculation if this was the dividing wall which burst open owing to the weight of water in number 6 or if this was the water from the coal bunker which suffered iceberg damage, or if the coal bunker wall between 5 and 6 had burst open because there was a fire in the coal bunker and a survivor said the metal was badly damaged by the fire after they put it out. In either case the water very likely did not spill over the tops as movies tend to show. This also means the water may have moved aft from the lower decks, especially if the watertight doors were open, as they were reopened to allow the pumps to be carried through.

    Open portholes along the ship and further aft would also flood various parts of the ship and ease away the downward trim as she sank lower amidships. All of this means that the ship was likely sinking bodily and the water would first flood the lowest decks and steadily move upwards, but as several survivors had reported very little downward trim before she broke and as several survivors were in the lower decks not long before she broke, I believe tells us that the bow section was by no means completely or even significantly flooded when she broke. Masses of water would rush into the middle section when she began to break and this action would shift her pivotal balance and cause her mid-section to go down fast, much faster if she was sinking bodily, and her forward prow would rise up, especially as the water in the forward rooms would tilt back, and possibly rush back 'down hill' towards the mid section with greater speed, and the air in all of those unflooded sections would rise upwards into the prow of the ship. It would only take a moment to shift the balance and the bow would momentarily rise up.

    Another possibility is that the forward section was partially flooded but not in a state were it would immediately go down, and when several decks partially broke the bow took a momentary plunge as it temporarily became unsettled, and then it slightly rebounding and flooded properly but at greater speed.

    A third possibility is that quite a number of the lifeboats were rowing towards another ship which could be seen off the port bow. This would mean their view of the Titanic sinking was limited to just her extreme bow. If they had turned and looked at the Titanic when they heard the explosion they may have missed the moment the stern turned around owing to darkness and there were reports of plumes smoke billowing out when she broke. So they may have mistaken the stern for the bow and assumed it was the bow rising up.

    Last edited: Oct 3, 2017
    sir john adams likes this.
  5. LukeW17

    LukeW17 Member

    Yes all three seem likely, thank you. Just find it odd how lots of people always seem to ignore the fact the stern pivoted round, it is something I had only just started researching myself

  6. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Member

    Another addition to the stern turning around is that survivors said there were hundreds of people in the water around the forward boat deck when it submerged, and survivor Frank Prentice who was on the poop deck of the stern said he felt the stern settle back and rise up again and when he looked over the rail and down at the water he saw hundreds of bodies "dead and alive" around the stern and how they all had drifted towards the stern. I believe those were the people that were on the bow section with the collapsible boats. When they looked up they saw the propellers right over them, and when Frank Prentice looked down he saw hundreds of people below him. He did not realize the stern was turning around and he assumed the people were all drifting towards him.

    LukeW17 likes this.
  7. Kyle Naber

    Kyle Naber Member

    The Titanic broke up at an angle of about 20-25 degrees. It is so important to remember that physics play a key role in the telling of the sinking and should not be thrown out the window as soon as it contradicts an account.

    Once the bridge dipped under, the port list would slightly increase, and the sinking rate would DRAMATICALLY increase. Only a few minutes remained as water rushed onto the boat deck. Due to this list to port, the first funnel would collapse in that direction. Then, the dome over the grand staircase would crash in moments later. Coal dust ignites in the bowels of the ship, sending a ball of fire and sparks out of the second funnel. THIS funnel crashes to starboard due to the expulsion of pressure, throwing it off of its foundations. A whirlpool now forms over the dome. The stairs are pulverized and are shot out into the water, giving some the impression the boat deck has risen back up. Now the propellors start to become visible and the Titanic really starts to rise up. Furniture, boilers, and all the loose objects in the vessel break away and slide down into the bow. Suddenly, two hard explosions are heard, and the stern falls back down almost immersed in darkness- apart from the few emergency lights reported remaining on. The stern nearly capsizes as it lays flat on the surface for about a minute (which feels longer in a situation like this). Then, the bow begins to pull the stern back up for one last time. Now the rest of the lights go out and the stern pivots half way around, turning her decks away from the boats on the starboard side. Slowly, but surely, the stern slips beneath the surface and violently implodes during the descent.

    That is what I believe happened during the final plunge put together by a combination of physics, forensic evidence, and survivor testimony.
  8. Kyle Naber

    Kyle Naber Member

    Parks Stephenson put together a simulation using a series of images from a computer generated model of the ship in 2006. These may be some stages of interest for you about the pivoting effect:

    4E2D3C38-C124-421C-85C8-F3A6E0882832.jpeg B56AB9E1-9B03-4773-B85A-2BF4B9E60C26.jpeg

    As you can see, the turning of the stern section was due to a combination of the breakup and the severe port list that took place. Also, looking at the images on the right side of each example, one can understand Lightoller’s difficulty actually witnessing the breakup. Survivors on the stern who were able to live to tell the story reported a strong list to port, but nothing hinting of the possibility of a breakup.
    LukeW17 likes this.
  9. LukeW17

    LukeW17 Member

    Thanks for the detailed reply. Yes that sounds good, have we ever confirmed what the two explosions were? Is it possible to do so?

    In the 1997 Cameron film (which I personally like) was the stern shown at a high 45 degree angle and sinking vertically because it was thought to be correct at the time or do you think it was partly for dramatic viewing? It certainly looks good for a movie but we know it wasn’t like that.

  10. LukeW17

    LukeW17 Member

    I haven’t seen these pictures before. Very interesting thank you for sharing them.
    Yes I can see that from Lightoller’s point of view that the break up may have been difficult to witness, do you still think it’s possible he was covering for White Star Line by saying it sank intact?

    Either is possible, by the look of things.

  11. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Member

    Lightoller said the port list eased away when the passengers moved to the starboard side. This would rule out the forward funnel falling over to port, and he described how the starboard support wire held on a fraction longer which caused the funnel to fall over to starboard where I understand the starboard bridge wing has been badly crushed on the wreck. The ship I believe was buckling at this moment. There was an explosive sound and the stern partially buckled and canted sharply upwards into the air as a number of survivors had witnessed this. The lower decks were likely still connected and producing power to the stern. The Titanic films show the stern rising to a very high angle with her stern lights blazing. This wasn't for dramatic effect. They did this because it was the general opinion of the survivors that the stern rose sharply into the air with her lights still blazing. They said the stern was between 60 degrees and almost vertical and almost stood up like a fully lighted skyscraper. Scientists have shown the ship had to already be broken to achieve that angle.




    I believe the Inquiry was indeed a whitewash as Lightoller later described 'conveniently after the company went broke' and could not prosecute him. Lightoller thought the boilers might have exploded and there were all kinds of rumours at the time for the cause of the ship breaking and sinking. They could not confirm or deny what caused the ship to break, so they decided it was best to dismiss the idea that their ship had broken, as it would have put into question the strength and safety of other ships in the line, which was something I'm sure they did not want. At the time they had to promote and defend British shipbuilding as big money between investors was likely changing hands between Britain, America, and Germany as new shipping contracts could decide which country would dominate the seas, especially with war fast approaching. The collision was another matter I believe they altered to protect themselves as I don't believe the order 'hard a-starboard' was given, when analysing the accounts and the physics.

    Last edited: Oct 4, 2017
  12. LukeW17

    LukeW17 Member

    Yeah that’s what I thought about Cameron’s movie that the ship would already have to be at least partially broke to achieve that high angle.
    If it did break at such an angle I believe many more would have noted it, but obviously I can’t say for sure as there would’ve been much more going on and people would’ve been trying to get away or stay alive instead of watching the ship’s final moments.

  13. Kyle Naber

    Kyle Naber Member

    The “explosions” were not explosions at all. Survivors used the term “explosion” for what the breaking apart of the keel sounded like. It wouldn’t have sounded like a splitting and cracking, but just two loud BANGS. The first one being the keel, the second being the side shell plating.

    The 1997 movie was true in its broad strokes for the telling of the sinking, but nothing more. The stern could not have reached a vertical angle as some said. Either their viewpoint was deceiving to them, or they exaggerated their story, as anyone would naturally do over time.
    LukeW17 likes this.
  14. Kyle Naber

    Kyle Naber Member

    I think both are a possibility. Maybe he could see some of it and heard some rumors, but was told to say otherwise, or maybe he didn’t see it at all in the confusion of things.
    LukeW17 likes this.
  15. LukeW17

    LukeW17 Member

    Yeah that makes sense. It looks good to appear like that in a movie but several different viewpoints could have easily made it look like the stern was vertical

  16. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Member

    As the intact ship could not rise high into the air without breaking, it must be said that the explosive sound heard before this occurred was the moment the ship commenced to break, which then caused the partially broken stern to suddenly rise into the air and corkscrew around with her lights still blazing as it was all so sudden. Here are some of the accounts which mention the stern rising high into the air.

    Edith Rosenbaum
    "The boat fully lighted up, suggesting one of our skyscrapers. It stood on end."

    2nd officer Lightoller
    "The ship at that time was becoming more perpendicular, until finally she attained the absolute perpendicular."

    3rd officer Pitman
    "She turned right on end and went down perpendicularly."

    5th officer Lowe
    "She was inclined at an angle of about 75 degrees."

    Mr. Brice
    "She went down almost perpendicular"

    Mr. Evans
    "Plunged forward, perpendicular."

    Mr. Hardy -
    Q - The stern almost perpendicular?
    A - Not perpendicular, but almost.

    Major Peuchen
    "While the lights were burning, I saw her bow pointing down and the stern up; not in a perpendicular position, but considerable. I should think an angle of not as much as 45 degrees."

    * As the broken stern was rising up it began to turn around and faced the opposite way with her stern lights going out after this.

    Mr. Beesley
    "As we gazed awe-struck, she tilted slowly up, revolving apparently about a centre of gravity just astern of amidships, until she attained a vertically upright position; and there she remained, motionless! As she swung up, her lights, which had shone without a flicker all night, went out suddenly, came on again for a single flash, then went out altogether.........the Titanic was still upright like a column: we could see her now only as the stern and some 150 feet of her stood outlined against the star-specked sky, looming black in the darkness, and in this position she continued for some minutes. I think as much as five minutes, but it may have been less. Then, first sinking back a little at the stern, (*settling back) I thought, she slid slowly forwards through the water and dived slantingly down. The sea closed over her and we had seen the last of the beautiful ship."

    Mr Crowe
    "After getting clear of the ship the lights were still burning very bright, but as we got away she seemed to go lower and lower, and she almost stood up perpendicular, and her lights went dim, and presently she broke clean in two, probably two-thirds of the length of the ship. She broke, and the after part floated back." (Note - I believe this was the final separation, and not the initial break which survivors had witnessed much earlier.)

    Charlotte Collyer gave a dramatic account of the break up.

    "It came with a deafening roar that stunned me. Something in the very bowels of the Titanic exploded and millions of sparks shot up to the sky, like rockets in a park on the night of a summer holiday. This red spurt was fan shaped as it went up, but the sparks descended in every direction in the shape of a fountain of fire. Two other explosions followed, dull and heavy, as if below the surface. The Titanic broke in two before my eyes. The fore part was already partly under the water. It wallowed over and disappeared instantly. The stern reared straight on end and stood poised on the ocean for many seconds. They seemed minutes to me. It was only then that the electric lights on board went out. Cries more terrible than I had ever heard rang in my ears. I turned my face away, but looked round the next instant and saw the second half of the great ship slip below the surface as easily as a pebble in a pond. I shall always remember that last moment as the most hideous of the whole disaster."

    Wireless operator Harold Bride was very close to the ship. He said:

    "Smoke and sparks were rushing out of her funnels. There must have been an explosion, but we heard none. We only saw a big stream of sparks." (Note: other survivors did hear a deafening explosion, and saw sparks and lumps coal shooting out when the liner broke in two.) "The ship was gradually turning on her nose, just like a duck does that goes down for a dive. I had only one thing on my mind, to get away from the suction.....The band was still playing. I guess all the band went down. They were heroes. They were still playing 'Autumn.' Then I swam with all my might. I suppose I was 150 feet away when the Titanic, on her nose, with her after quarter sticking straight up in the air, began to settle slowly."

    This I believe tells us that the bow section was not submerged when the sparks were seen as he band continued to play afterwards, and yet those sparks were seen by other survivors when the ship was breaking in two. The bow section then partially broke free and took a violent lurch. The stern rose high into the air and then separated completely (or mostly) and settled back. I believe this settling back has been mistaken for the initial break which happened much earlier.

    The first explosive sound was heard immediately before the forward boat deck took a sudden lurch. I believe that was the moment she began to buckle heavily. The ship was mostly sinking bodily so the breached openings would already have been well submerged and she would sinking very rapidly from that moment. The bow took a sudden lurch and survivors forward and amidships felt a large wave of water rush over them. Mr. Brown was in front of the forward funnel and saw the stern tremble and he thought the bow had fallen off as he turned and saw the stern sticking up into the air. This would explain the sudden lurch of the bow as it was breaking free. The bow lights extinguished and the band stopped playing. Survivors were trying to free the last collapsible boat when they felt the explosive rumble and felt the bow lurch downwards, and then back up again as the bow became unsettled by the commencement of the break up further aft.

    Last edited: Oct 4, 2017
    LukeW17 likes this.
  17. Kyle Naber

    Kyle Naber Member

    Perhaps the “bow rising” was the port list increasing. If the boat deck was washed on both foward ends and the ship listed more intensely, then the water on the starboard side would wash over to the port side, giving some the impression that the deck was rising.
  18. LukeW17

    LukeW17 Member

    I can say that is likely and makes a lot of sense.
  19. LukeW17

    LukeW17 Member

    Thanks for the detailed reply, much appreciated

  20. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Member

    Lightoller said - "The ship took a dive, reeling for a moment, then plunging." It is uncertain what he meant when he said "reeling for a moment." He may have been describing the bow section or the stern section. The word reeling means 'to lose ones balance' - sway, roll, rock, lurch. He may have been observing the stern after it broke and watched it roll over heavily to port as it lost balance after breaking before it plunged down, or he may have been describing the bow reeling and throwing the funnels off as it rolled from side to side. I think he was describing the stern after it settled back and rolled onto its port side before going down.