Mrs. Hans Christensen, 72, keenly remembers a cold April night in the Atlantic ocean nearly 54 years ago when she sat in a bobbing lifeboat and helplessly watched the liner, Titanic, quietly slip beneath the frigid waters off the coast of Newfoundland.
A Swedish teen-ager bound for America, Mrs. Christensen was asleep when the ship on its maiden voyage struck an iceberg and began to sink.
Filled with Water
“I remember my cousin, Edward Larson, then 22, shaking me awake,” she recalled. “He said his compartment was filled with water.
“After putting on my heavy winter clothing, we made it to the deck and I was pout into a lifeboat. The cries of the people—I’ll never forget them.”
It was 6 hours before Mrs. Christensen was plucked from the storm-lashed waters.
“My cousin drowned because only the women and children were put in lifeboats. I prayed very hard while waiting to be rescued.”
The final death toll reached 1,517. The survivors, including Mrs. Christiansen, lost everything that was on board.
Settles in Montana
Weeks later, she found herself settled in Montana as a housekeeper. In 4 years, she was married. The Christensens then migrated to Chicago where they reared their five children, three girls and two boys.
Her husband, Hans, is a retired carpenter who is still recovering from an auto accident in 1958 that hospitalized him for 6 months.
The family over the years has expanded to include nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Looking back Mrs. Christensen commented, “That was my first time on the ocean—and my last.”
[Photo and Caption: Mrs. Hans Christensen, 4205 Fullerton av., survivor of the Titanic disaster, holds book that pictures the ill-fated vessel which builders claimed was “unsinkable.” Mrs. Christensen vividly remembers the cold, foggy night when the ship hit an iceberg and sunk minutes afterwards.]
Chicago Tribune, Sunday, April 3, 1966, s. NW 10 (Metro), p. 2, c. 3: