Titanic Struck on Clear Night

Chicago Tribune

Story of Parisian Operator Deepens Mystery of Disaster to White Star Line

Warning Was Repeated

Secrecy of Wireless Messages Pertaining to Wreck Maintained by Capt. Haines

Halifax, N. S., April 17—[Special]—With one expedition leaving this port today to search for the Titanic dead and another preparing to leave tomorrow, the Allan steamship Parisian crept through the fog to its dock tonight bearing the first authentic news known of the stupendous tragedy of the sea.

“The great glaring fact, as given by Donald Sutherland, the wireless operator of the Parisian, was his unqualified statement that the night of the disaster judged from the position of the Parisian, which he estimated to have been about fifty miles southwest of the Titanic at the time it struck, the weather was remarkably clear. In all the course through the day no fog had been encountered.

“The night was so clear,” said Sutherland, “that the Parisian’s lookout several times mistook stars on the horizon for ship’s lights. You have seen beautifully clear winter nights when you went skating and it seemed just like day. It was just such a night. You could have played a game of football.

Sent Repeated Warnings

And, what is more, Sutherland says that from his instrument through most of the evening he was sending out warnings to other ships as to the unusual condition of ice floes in the in the usual winter course of Atlantic travelers.

All navigators agree that the condition was unusual, that constant northeasterly gales had driven ice hundreds of miles further south than is usually to be expected at this time of the year.

Usually the greatest danger from derelict bergs is to be found in May and June and even as late as July in the transatlantic avenue in which the Titanic was passing.

Sutherland says that while he has no positive information he is sure the warnings that he and other wireless operators sent out must have reached the Titanic. He said: “On Sunday, the 14th, I was at my instrument until 10 o’clock at night. The Mesaba of the Atlantic Transport line was ahead of us. The Californian was about fifty miles in our rear and the Titanic was following the Californian at a distance, I judge, of 75 to 100 miles. The Mesaba was passing me warning messages about the unusual icy condition of the course and warned me of the presence of big bergs. I passed the information to the Californian. I sent this message repeatedly: ‘Running into ice—very thick—and big bergs.’

Californian Relayed Message.

“I assumed, although I do not know, for I did not talk directly to the Titanic, that the Californian passed to the Titanic the messages I had sent and which I had myself previously received from the Mesaba.

“I felt my instrument at exactly 10 o’clock. I was ordered to do so by Capt. Haines because I had been up many hours in an effort to get a ship to go to the aid of the tank steamship Deutschland, which I had heard was in distress.

“I received a query on the night of the disaster from Capt Haddock of the Olympic the Titanic’s sister ship traveling east as to the condition of the ice, and I sent to him the same message that I had relayed from the Mesaba to the Californian, and that, of the Titanic: ‘Running into ice—very thick—and big bergs.’

Chicago Tribune, Thursday, April 18, 1912, p. 2, c. 7

Relates to Ship:



Thomas E. Golembiewski

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