Encyclopedia Titanica

Why the Titanic was lost - Remarkable Story

Captain Smith Deceived by Unusual Phenomenon

Dundee Evening Telegraph

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Captain P. C. Johnson reports a remarkable discovery made at the scene of the Titanic wreck

Despatches to hand state that Captain P. C. Johnson, Dominion Government Inspector of Lighthouses, who was in charge of the expedition sent out in the Government steamer Montmagny in search of Titanic bodies, reports remarkable discovery made at the scene of the Titanic wreck, which he believes accounts for the disaster. This is a change in the Arctic current, which thereby formed a great pocket of cold water within the usual course of the Gulf Stream. This change was not known to Capt. Smith, and, Captain Johnson says, explains why he did not avoid ice of which he was warned. The apex of the cold water pocket where warm water ordinarily is Captain Johnson found was at latitude 41 N., longitude 50 W.

"In approaching the 'cold pocket' from the eastward." said Captain Johnson "I found the temperature of the water 62 degrees. Close by the pocket of cold water I found a temperature of 60 degrees and between the cold and warm water of the Gulf Stream a well-defined line was shown evidenced by froth stretching as far as the eye could reach.

"Directly after crossing this line we found a temperature of 48 degrees, and ten miles within the line was an iceberg, the water being 42 degrees within 100 yards of it.

Took Ample Precautions.

"My contention is that Captain Smith some distance east of the position where he struck the iceberg, found the temperature of the water 60 degrees, and as he was steering a course directly opposite to the usual current that he expected to be there, never dreamed that there was an iceberg ahead and he took what he considered ample precautions to clear the ice reported to him by wireless.

"In crossing into the cold water from the Gulf Stream Captain Smith would get a temperature of 60 at the stern and 48 at the bow of his ship. The surface currents in this pocket I found very uncertain, but the tendency was east-north-eastward. I found bodies that had drifted only about sixty miles from the scene of the disaster after being in the water twenty-five days, whereas the Gulf Stream in this vicinity was running at the rate of about thirty miles a day.

The Titanic might, therefore, have struck the iceberg five of six miles to the westward of a place where she would get a temperature of 60 degrees."  Captain Johnson is confident that it was this remarkable and unusual contact between the Arctic current and the Gulf Stream that is responsible for the accident.

Related Biographies

Captain Peter Crerar Johnson

Related Ships

Montmagny

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Encyclopedia Titanica (2021) Why the Titanic was lost - Remarkable Story (Dundee Evening Telegraph, Friday 14th June 1912, ref: #221, published 25 January 2021, generated 27th October 2021 07:40:20 AM); URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/why-the-titanic-was-lost-remarkable-story.html