Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Titanic: Death-defying leap to safety

Titanic. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Shipyard men fitting the starboard tailshaft of the Titanic prior to her launch. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
The Titanic Building will immortalise one of history's most enduring tales

Swedish Lieutenant Hakan Bjornstern Staffanson, who was heading to America to research the possible export of pulp to his country, demonstrated his survival instinct when he made a death-defying leap from a lower deck into a lifeboat being lowered beside him.

It was the last lifeboat to reach safety, and Staffanson and the other lucky passengers, including Henry Woolmer, of London, who had leapt on board, too, were only 100 metres away when the Titanic finally sank.

Recovering in New York’s Hotel Gotham, Staffanson described the moment of collision as “not a severe shock”. He added: “It did not throw anyone from his seat; rather, it was a twisting motion that shook the boat terribly.”

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