British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry


Description of the Damage to the Ship and its Gradual Final Effect
Final Effect of the Damage

The later stages of the sinking cannot be stated with any precision, owing to a confusion of the times which was natural under the circumstances.

The forecastle deck was not under water at 1.35 a.m. (Lee, 2541) Distress signals were fired until two hours after the collision (1.45 a.m.). (Rowe, 17685) At this time the fore deck was under water. (Jewell, 167) The forecastle head was not then submerged though it was getting close down to the water, about half an hour before she disappeared (1.50 a.m.). (Lightoller, 14081)

When the last boat, lowered from davits (D), left the ship, A deck was under water, (14023) and water came up the stairway under the Boat deck almost immediately afterwards. After this the other port collapsible (B), which had been stowed on the officers' house, was uncovered, the lashings cut adrift, and she was swung round over the edge of the coamings of the deckhouse on to the Boat deck. (14035)

Very shortly afterwards the vessel, according to Mr. Lightoller's account, seemed to take a dive, and he just walked into the water. (14052) When he came to the surface all the funnels were above the water. (14071-72)

Her stern was gradually rising out of the water, and the propellers were clear of the water. (14078) The ship did not break in two; (14075) and she did eventually attain the perpendicular, (14084a) when the second funnel from aft about reached the water. (14089) There were no lights burning then, though they kept alight practically until the last. (Lee, 2558) (Pearcey, 10454)

Before reaching the perpendicular when at an angle of 50 or 60 degrees, there was a rumbling sound which may be attributed to the boilers leaving their beds and crashing down on to or through the bulkheads. (Lightoller, 14097) She became more perpendicular and finally absolutely perpendicular, when she went slowly down.

After sinking as far as the after part of the Boat deck she went down more quickly. The ship disappeared at 2.20 a.m. (Lee, 2558)