Swept from Raft to Which His Son Managed to Cling
The manner in which John B. Thayer, Second Vice President of thePennsylvania Railroad, met his death along with eighteen or twenty othermen was described last night by Mrs. W. C. Stephenson of Haverford,Penn., one of the survivors. Thayer, his son, John B. Thayer, Jr., andthe score of other men, she said, refused to enter a lifeboat, choosinginstead to take their chances on a crude raft. They had scarcely jumpedto the raft when a huge wave struck it, splitting it in two parts. Mr.Thayer, Sr., was thrown into the water and disappeared. His son managedto scramble back on the raft, and was rescued by one of the lifeboats.
Mrs. Stephenson said that Mrs. John B. Thayer was in the same lifeboatwith her and saw her husband go to his death. Others in the lifeboat,she said, were Mrs. John Jacob Astor and Mrs. George D. Widener ofPhiladelphia.
"Mr. Thayer," said Mrs. Stephenson, "was one of the bravest men I eversaw. Immediately after we felt the shock of the collision he bent everyeffort to comfort and console the women and to see that they got safelyinto the lifeboats. He refused to give a thought to his own safety untilhe had done all that mortal man could do for us."
Mrs. Stephenson said she had ample time to obtain clothing after thecollision and life preservers were distributed, which she said,afterwards proved a most welcome protection against the cold.
They were in the lifeboat at least five hours and on several occasionsduring that time narrowly escaped being engulfed by great waves. One ofthese waves, she said, swept completely over the boat, drenching everyone [sic] and sweeping a man named Williams over the side.
On board the Carpathia, she said, she had seen Mrs. Astor several timeswalking about near the Captain's cabin and had talked with her. Mrs.Astor, she said, was apparently in delicate health, but had borne upwell under the terrible ordeal.
Mrs. Stephenson was taken to the Pennsylvania Station in a taxicabprovided by the railroad and started for Philadelphia on a special trainwhich the company had placed at the disposal of such of the survivors aswished to use it.
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