Q: They're almost there, they're almost to America when the collision happens.
What's the impact on the Florida? What happens immediately after? |
FS: Well the event takes place in the dark at night. It's I
believe very early in the morning actually but it's at that hour when you
expect things to be quiet and here the ship slams into another ship with
obviously great force and clamor and I don't think that very many people if any
aside from the captain and a handful of officers had any idea of what had taken
place. The passengers and steerage group are all below deck. They can't see
what happened. Rumor immediately kicks in and panic ensues. I mean I would
say sheer panic.
Q: I mean they must have felt like it was another earthquake all over again?
FS: Yes, you have people who have just been through a
devastating traumatic experience feeling perhaps fortunate that they have
survived the earthquake on their way with some hope to the New World and lo and
behold slam, they are in a situation that in some people's mind could be worst
than the earthquake that they had just experienced. I don't think they had
any idea of what they were confronted with and I think that they were highly
traumatized to begin with and now probably super-traumatized.
From all accounts you have people who don't know what's happened panicked,
rumor is rampant as to what could be happening presumably that the ship, the
Florida is sinking. They have to begin to lower life boats to take passengers
from the other ship, from the Republic, they have to use the life boats from
the Florida to help in the transport of people from the other ship and yet you
have a group of highly traumatized people who don't really know what's
happening, seeing this activity and panicking to the point where they
themselves think that they ought to rush for the boats and save themselves
where that-, is not the case but very difficult to explain that to people who
really have no idea of, of what the situation is that they may be in a boat
that's going down and rumor probably is telling them that that's what
happening. So you have a real panic situation that requires very stern
measures. I mean breaking out arms and literally having to impose order by
force of arms.
back to Interview Transcripts | next