Ernest Person, Titanic Passenger, Arrives at Indiana Harbor
And Relates Rescue
Struggled in the Water
Declares Widow of Millionaire New Yorker
Begged Crew to Drag Him Into Lifeboat
How he was saved after floating around in the ocean hanging to a thin plank for over an hour after the Titanic sank, by Mrs. John Jacob Astor, was told to-day by Ernest Person, 26 years old, a Swede, who arrived in Indiana Harbor, from New York. Person came with his brother-in-law William Stron[sic], whose wife and daughter, Thelma, 3 years old, went down with the ship. Stron went to New York in an effort to find his child among the unidentified little ones who were rescued.
“My sister and Thelma arrived on deck just after the last boat had left the vessel,” began Person. “In a short time the water was knee deep.
All Thrown Into the Sea
“Suddenly the boat gave a lurch and we were thrown into the sea. I went under, it seems, abut ten times, and each time was brought up by the reflex action caused by the suction of the sinking of the ship. I grasped a plank and looked around for my sister and niece, but they had disappeared.
“In about an hour I saw an overturned lifeboat, which was filled with men. I begged them to take me on, but they refused, saying that if they did they would all be hurled off into the water. Finally we all saw another lifeboat with women and children in it. It wasn’t full, however. We called to them and begged them to take us in. The seamen in charge refused, saying that the work of pulling them over the side of the boat would upset it.
Mrs. Astor Pleads with Men
“A woman stood up and pleaded with the seamen. I afterward learned that this woman was Mrs. John Jacob Astor. After a time the sailors consented, but the men on the overturned boat were first taken off. Then I climbed on the deserted craft and was later taken into the safer one.
“We had one man with jet black hair with us. He lost his wife and five children. After we were taken on board the Carpathia I saw that his hair had turned snow white. A short time later he died from exposure.”
Chicago Daily News, Saturday, April 27, 1912, p. 1, c. 5