Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Titanic: A fight in the icy water

Titanic. Port bow 3/4 profile afloat immediately after launch. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum

There were exceptions to the civilised evacuation from the boat and Thomas Patrick Dillon, a crew member who gave evidence at the British inquiry into the disaster in London in May 1912 recalled what happened when the ship went down.

A wave of water swept him overboard and he saw over 1,500 people struggling to stay alive in the ocean.

“The air was filled with sharp, pitiful groans,” he said. One man clung to his neck and Dillon had to fight him off in a bid to save his own skin. He remained in the freezing water for 20 minutes before being pulled into a lifeboat.

“I was unconscious for a long period of time and would rather die a hundred times than go through such an experience and live.” he added.

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