Titanic Sinking - Other Ships Were Close By
CALIFORNIAN 17 MILES AWAY.
Had Heard Nothing of the Disaster Then, Says the Virginian's Captain.
LIVERPOOL, April 21.---The Allan Line steamer Virginian arrived here to-day. Capt. Gambell was unable to throw any light on the messages which were sent broadcast last Monday that the Virginian had the Titanic in tow and that other steamers were standing by.
The Virginian had two wireless operators aboard, who transmitted onward all news received.
"We passed the place where the Titanic sank," said Capt. Gambell, "at a distance of six or seven miles. I had to go around an ice field. The ice was closely packed between us and the position of the Titanic when she went down, and there would have been great danger in going nearer. No boats, packages, or wreckage were to be seen."
The Virginian received the first wireless message concerning the accident to the Titanic from Cape Race at 12:40 o'clock Monday morning. It announced that the Titanic had struck an iceberg and was in need of immediate assistance.
Capt. Gampbell[sic] altered his course and proceeded 162 miles in the direction of the Titanic. At 10 o'clock in the morning he received a wireless from the Carpathia:
Turn back. Everything O. K. Have 800 on board. Return to your northern track.
The Virginian then proceeded eastward and sighted a field of ice and numerous bergs. Previous to that she was in communication with the Russian steamer Rirnia, which, at 3:45 A. M., was fifty-five miles from the Titanic, and also with the Californian, Carpathia, Frankfurt, and Baltic.
"At 5:43 A. M.," continued the Captain, "I was in communication with the Californian. She was seventeen miles north of the Titanic, and hadn't heard anything of the disaster. At 6:10 I sent a Marconigram:
Kindly let me know the condition of affairs when you get to the Titanic.
He immediately replied:
Can now see the Carpathia taking passengers aboard from small boats. The Titanic foundered about 2 A. M.
The Virginian heard the Carpathia advising the Baltic that she had about 800 survivors aboard, and was proceeding for Halifax or New York, and advising the Olympic that all the boats had been accounted for; that a careful search had been made among the wreckage for survivors, and that the Californian was going to remain in the vicinity for some time.
When the Virginian was hastening to the Titanic all her boats were swung out ready for use. A party of bluejackets returning from Pacific station under Lieut. J. S. Morrell volunteered to man the boats.
The New York Times, New York, NY 22 Apr 1912
DID TITANIC SEE THE CALIFORNIAN?
Only 19 Miles Away, Perhaps Not So Far, and Mast Lights were Well Within Range of Visibility.
HER WIRELESS NOT WORKING
And She Passed On, Ignorant of Her Opportunity to Save 2, 300 Lives ---- Freighter Only 30 Miles Off.
Dispatches from Boston and Portland, Me., last night indicated that the surviving officers and passengers of the Titanic who say they saw the lights of another ship near by when the big liner went down are not mistaken.
The Captain of the Leyland liner Californian, now at Boston, admits that his ship was not more than 19 miles from the Titanic on the night of the disaster. From the bridge of the Titanic, about 100 feet above the water, the horizon would be twelve miles away. Allowing 100 feet for the height of the mast lights of the Californian this would extend the view of those on the Titanic's bridge to twenty-four miles.
Moreover, the Captains fixed the position of the two ships at night by dead reckoning, and exact reckoning might bring the Californian within fifteen miles of the Titanic, so that her lights would be easily visible to those on the doomed White Star liner's bridge on the exceptionally clear night of the disaster, especially through marine glasses.
The freight steamer Lena, now at Portland, was also close to the Titanic on the night she sunk, but being without wireless passed on, unconscious of the peril of the 2,300 persons only a few miles away.
The New York Times, New York, NY 24 Apr 1912