- Jul 8, 1999
I'm just not seeing it at all. The boats were spread out, in the dark. Even if they could have gotten their quicker than most estimate they could, they might have gotten to one boat. As for the people in the water after 15-20 minutes or so when nobody was making noise anymore it would have been very difficult to locate any of them till the sun came up. I know its kind of a morbid question but how long did it take for the people in the water to disperse where if Carpathia did get a boat in the water they could have gotten many or any at all that would have made a difference?
I believe the people in the water would already have been somewhat scattered within the hour after the Titanic disappeared below the surface.
Looking at the most optimistic scenario (I am sure that Jim Currie or someone else with nautical experience will correct me on the details)
- Stone sees the first rocket at 12:45 am. He immediately yells for a crew member to waken 'Sparks' Evans and also speaks down the tube to report to the Captain.
-Captain Lord immediately orders all crew to be alerted and issues appropriate instructions for the Californian to be on its way to the rescue. Additional lookouts are posted, lifeboats readied and the Captain arranges to get feedback from Evans regularly.
I am assuming that it would take at least 10 minutes for the Californian to be on its way; that's 12:55 am. I support the view that the two ships were about 14 miles apart that night and the Californian had a max speed of 12 knots. But it was night and there were icebergs and growlers about. So, it would be about 02:05 am by the time the Californian got to within half-a-mile of the Titanic, just as Collapsible D was being lowered. From that point, the Californian would have to slow down and proceed more cautiously because of the other lifeboats already on the sea. For the time being, the crew of the Californian ignore those already safe in lifeboats and concentrate on the sinking Titanic; but by then the bigger ship is almost gone and the crew of the Californian cannot get too close without endangering their own ship.
Therefore IMO, the Californian would not have been able to rescue anyone off the by then rapidly sinking Titanic's decks.
Meanwhile, the crew of the Californian lower their lifeboats. They had 6 of them (4 standard and 2 small, I believe) with a total capacity of around 220. We can only imagine the terribly difficult task of the crew manning those boats to row into the masses of life-jacketed bodies all around. Amid the screams in the dark, those still conscious would be trying to get to the boats even as the boats tried to get to them; there would be the danger of the boats being swarmed by the stronger ones and the crew on board would had difficulty in deciding whom to haul in and in what order. Meanwhile, many survivors struggling in the water would have become unconscious and soon afterwards died.
It would have been an almost impossible task and that's why I feel 50 more saved would have been the best possible scenario had Californian reacted promptly.