Titanic Lifeboat 5

Lifeboat 5 was kept at the forward end of Titanic’s starboard side. It was the second lifeboat to be lowered away from the ship, and in the boat when it was lowered were approximately around 36 people, including Titanic’s third officer, Herbert Pitman, the second most senior member of Titanic’s crew to survive.

Standing in the lifeboat, Herbert Pitman called out for more women to join the boat; with no women coming forward, a few men were allowed to jump in. He then jumped out of the boat and back on to the ship, before First officer William Murdoch told him to take command of the boat and to stand by to come along the after gangway. Before reluctantly entering the boat, as he did not believe the ship was in serious danger, William Murdoch shook his hand and said, “Goodbye, good luck.”

Inside the boat when it was lowered, at approximately around 12.45am, were approximately around 36 people, made up of mostly first class women, a few men and around 6 members of the ship’s crew. As the boat was lowering there was a bit of a commotion in the boat as, due to the amount of passengers in the boat, Quartermaster Alfred Oliver could not get to the boat’s plug to stop the water getting into the boat once it reached the water; eventually he forced his way to the plug, just in time.

As Fifth Officer Harold Lowe was personally lowering the lifeboat into the water, J Bruce Ismay, the managing director of the White Star Line, overanxiously told him to, “Lower away! Lower away…!” Unaware of whom he was speaking to and in the heat of the moment, he replied with: “If you will get to hell out of that I shall be able to do something. Do you want me to lower away quickly? You will have me drown the whole lot of them."

Once in the water the boat was rowed a safe distance from the ship. For some time during the night the boat tied up to lifeboat 7, as Herbert Pitman thought that it was best for them to stay together. While tied together, at least four passengers, including a women, child and two men, were transferred to Boat 7 to balance the load. Although never used, inside the boat was water and biscuits, but no light could be found.

After the ship had sunk, with the cries of those in the water filling the air, Herbert Pitman ordered that the boat be rowed back to rescue some of the people struggling in the water; but the passengers in the boat then quickly discouraged him from doing so, with one passenger said to have said: “Why should we risk our lives in a useless attempt to save those [in the water].” The boat then spent the remainder of the night sat still.

After becoming certain that a light that they could see in the distance was coming from a ship (Carpathia), they started to row towards her. All aboard the lifeboat were safely rescued by the Carpathia, and the lifeboat itself was also taken to New York.

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