Who was the near-faller at Lifeboat #10?

Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

Several accounts have described how a woman nearly fell between the Titanic's side and a port lifeboat while trying to board the latter. I understand that Charles Joughin and William Burke claimed to be involved in loading of that boat at some stage. AFAIK, Joughin was only involved with loading #10 and Burke survived on that boat and so it must follow that the near-faller incident took place at Lifeboat #10.

But who was the woman? In the Titanic survivors' section for #10, it is speculated that it was Finnish passenger Elin Hakkarainen but she survived on Lifeboat #15 on the starboard side. Since #15 was lowered around 01:40 am by which time the Titanic had a port list, starboard boats like #15 would have been rubbing hard against the ship's side and there would certainly have been no gap between the boat and the ship. Of course, Mrs Hakkarainen might have fallen while boarding for other reasons but have 2 separate incidents become mixed-up?

Joughin and probably Burke seem certain about the gap between the boat and ship, which means it must have been quite late during the sinking and going by Bill Wormstedt's revised account, #10 fits the bill. And according to what it says on ET and elsewhere, the near-faller was not pushed back up to the boat deck but pulled down onto the A-deck (which seems physically more likely). Joughin reported that he did not see her again but Burke reportedly said that he saw her board #10 successfully 'afterwards'.

Since everyone feels that #10 was eventually lowered from the boat deck to the water without stopping on A-deck level, did the woman go back up to the boat deck to board #10? In any case, who was she?
Ellana Coote

Ellana Coote

Forgive me if I do this wrong, but this is my first time replying :)
Frank Oliver Evans talks about the incident with Lifeboat 10 in his testimony. He confirms that the woman who fell did make it into #10, but it still gives no indication as to her identity.

Mr. EVANS: ... Mr. Murdoch made them jump across into the boat.
Senator SMITH: How far?
Mr. EVANS: It was about two feet and a half, sir. He was making the women jump across, and the children he was chucking across, along with this baker. He throwed them onto the women, and he was catching the children by their dresses and chucking them in.
Senator SMITH: Were any children thrown overboard or any women?
Mr. EVANS: One woman slipped and fell. Her heel must have caught on the rail of the deck, and she fell down and some one on the deck below caught her and pulled her up. Her heel caught in the rail, I think, as she was jumping, and they pulled her in onto the next deck. She was a woman in a black dress.
Senator SMITH: Do you know who she was? Did you ever see her afterwards?
Mr. EVANS: Yes, sir; she came up onto the boat deck again, and then jumped again, and she came into the boat that time all right.
Senator SMITH: Into your boat?
Mr. EVANS: Yes; into No. 10 boat.
Senator SMITH: Who was she?
Mr. EVANS: I could not distinguish her at all in the boat, and I never took no more notice of her.​


I guess the best thing to do would be to figure out who it couldn't have been. It sounds like it was a single woman traveling without children or relatives, otherwise there would be a whole raft of people claiming that their mother or aunt nearly tripped into the Atlantic. So I don't think it was one of the Fortunes. I don't think that it was Mary Marvin either, given that she was only two or three months along and very well could have lost the child (falling 60-plus feet isn't the most stress-free of situations and a good chunk of pregnancies never make it out of the first trimester).

Given that Mr. Evans states that he couldn't distinguish her in the boat, could it be Anna Sinkonen, another Finnish survivor? She was reported to have been forced underneath her seat and was nearly trampled in the process.
Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

Good analysis but Anna Sinkkonen made a few statements about the circumstances of her survival (including details in ET biography of her) and she never mentioned anything about falling between the lifeboat and side of the ship. Surely, that would have been mentioned several times had she been the one?

Also, it did not have to be a single woman travelling on her own. It could have been a woman whose husband was still on board and if he was later lost, there would be no one to make the sort of claims that you said.