Galesburg Evening Mail

Frank Kurun of Galesburg Tells How He Saved Himself and Daughter


Jumped from Lower Deck Into Life Boat As It Was Being Lowered

His Brother Drowned

Frank Kurun, together with his little daughter, Mary, returned on the ten o'clock train last night from New York City where they were kept in the hospital with the survivors of the Titanic wreck. The Galesburg man was among the few male survivors of the marine disaster and when interviewed this morning by an Evening Mail reporter told a graphic story of the wreck and of his escape. As was reported in this paper yesterday, Kurun is a labor contractor of this city and conducts what is known as the old Lindell Hotel on Depot street. He was just returning from a business trip to his native land where he disposed of a farm and other property. He is a Pole by nationality, and speaks English brokenly. He was booked as a steerage passenger with his brother and little five year old daughter, Mary, on board the Titanic. He said he picked out the best boat so they could enjoy the trip to America better.

Was Asleep When Ship Hit Berg.

Kurun was asleep at the time when the ill-fated boat struck the iceberg. He heard no crash or other disturbance but was aroused by people rushing about and the shrill cries of distress from his fellow passengers. He looked at his watch and discovered that it was 11:00 o'clock. He heard someone give an order to put on life preservers and although there was considerable of a panic among the steerage passengers at the time, he succeeded in getting one of the big cork belts, which he put on. He took his little girl in his arms and together with the other passengers crowded about the hatchways trying to get up on the upper decks. Being a big man he was able to get to the front of the crowd. The officers and crew kept ordering the passengers back and some drew revolvers. Again and again the panic stricken crowd was driven back, Kurun still maintaining his position among the forefront.

Leaped Into a Lifeboat

Suddenly he saw a lifeboat being lowered over the side. He sprang forward and with his daughter in his arms, dived head first over the side of the deck, lighting ten feet below in the boat, which was being rapidly let over the side. There were already fifty passengers in the boat, but room was made for him, although this was done under protest. The report yesterday that Kurun was among those on the raft with Col. Gracie was unfounded but the circumstances of his escape as above outlined were taken from the survivor's own lips this morning.

Was in Lifeboat Many Hours

When asked whether any shots were fired at men trying to get on the lifeboats, he repliedthat he had not heard or seen anything of the sort, but had seen the officers draw revolvers. The lifeboat in which he was seated was not far off from the liner when it sank. Kurun did not see the boat break in two, but he saw the big hole in its side. He said that before he left the boat, the water was coming up through the steerage hatchways and caused the people to be greatly frightened. When the Titanic sank, he heard the cries of the people and saw men struggling in the water after the boat went down. There was much ice floating about. Of the fifty-two persons on board the lifeboat, most of them were women and children,there being over a dozen children. It was four hours and a half before the Carpathia was sighted and almost five hours before the half frozen survivors were taken aboard.

Lost over $700 in wreck

Kurun says that he had about $750 in money in his trunk which was lost when the ship went down. He was on the return trip and his business transactions had netted him in the above named amount. "I don't care much for the money," he said, I can make that over again. I am thankful that I have my life and that of my girl Mary. Upon arrival of the rescue ship in New York, Kurun and his child were taken to the St. Vincent's hospital. All the Catholics were taken to this place and the other persons were sent about to the other hospitals. The clothes he was wearing were utterly ruined. Kurun was given another suit by the White Star Company. He was wearing this suit this morning. He was in the hospital two days and a half. The brother of the Galesburg man, who was coming to America for the first time, was lost in the wreck. His name was Kovec. Kurun did not see him after the first alarm was given "I am still sick," said Kurun. "but I feel very lucky to be here. It was a horrible thing."

Related Biographies:

Franz Karun


Encyclopedia Titanica (2004) TELLS OF RESCUE FROM TITANIC (Galesburg Evening Mail, Tuesday 23rd April 1912, ref: #3359, published 4 August 2004, generated 11th July 2020 12:56:07 AM); URL :