The Evening Post

The terrible tragedy of the Titanic, even though it is possible to hope that fuller information may mitigate it, presents several mysteries.

Whence and how came the reports spread everywhere yesterday that the passengers had all been got off safely? One theory advanced is that of amateur monkeying with the wireless, but it seems incredible that such could have been kept up in the propagation of falsehood for some 18 hours after the sinking of the ship. Another explanation suggested is that the truth was deliberately withheld for the effect on the stock market. It is hard to see how this could have been successfully done with the eager searching from thousands of sources for the real news fact. Evidently a thorough investigation is needed. If it prove true that wireless faking was the trouble, the need will be demonstrated of regulative legislation such as has been proposed, to safeguard the valuable work the system is capable of doing as proved in the case of the Republic, and in its 12 years’ record regarding ocean disasters. It now turns out that the conditions yesterday were bad for wireless work but the fact can hardly mean honest errors. There must have been deliberate falsifying somewhere.

And how could this great ship, the largest and finest afloat, supposed to represent the highest achievement in the ship building art, with her watertight compartments, collision bulkheads, double bottoms, twin or triple screws - how could she have fallen so easy a victim to a collision with an iceberg? Were there structural de-defects [sic] in her? Many supposedly far inferior ships have survived such collision, notably the Niagara that reached port Sunday night. Was she being recklessly driven at a speed that would intensify the destructive effect of a collision? Were the necessary tests of the temperature of the water made to indicate the vicinity of icebergs? These obvious questions prove that there must have been grave fault somewhere.

Of the eight or 10 ships that have never been heard of after putting to sea in the 80 years or so since trans-Atlantic steam navigation began, it is believed that most, if not all, met their fate against icebergs. Among the most famous of these was the Inman liner City of Glasgow, which, after leaving Liverpool for New York in 1854 with 480 aboard, disappeared completely. But these were fragile shells compared with modern steel leviathans constructed in a way that had been believed to make sinking impossible except from tearing of the bottom by running against submerged ledge. The wireless has at least given us sure fact instead of surmise in this case.

The nearest approach in modern marine history to the dimensions of the present catastrophe were the loss of the steamer Atlantic in 1873 when 574 lives were lost, and that of La Bourgogne in 1898, with a list if fatalities of 571. The earlier disaster of the Great Eastern belongs to another era.

The records show about 2,000,000 people a year crossing the Atlantic and the questions involved in this case of vast importance for answer if possible.


Julie Dowen

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