The following account courtesy of Inger Sheil:

New York Herald
19 April 1912

Abraham Hyman Tells of Seeing Him Struggling to Keep Third Class Passengers from Stampeding - Hundreds Blown from the Titanic by Explosions - Boat Load Capsizes

According to some of the passengers Chief Officer Wilde shot himself when he saw the Titanic was doomed. He had spent his last hour struggling with the third class passengers, and it is said had to use violence to quiet them and keep them from stampeding the first and second cabin sections.

Abraham Hyman, of Manchester, England, who was coming to this country to join a brother in Paterson, N.J., is one of the passengers who told about seeing Chief Officer Wilde rushing around with a revolver in his hand. Mr. Hyman was a third class passenger, and is one of the few men on that list that escaped with his life. He said after the lifeboat in which he left the steamship put out some distance shrill cries and screams could be heard distinctly.

There was not much panic before he left the Titanic, he said, except when the chief officer fired into a belligerent group of third class passengers. A man standing next to him had his chin shot off, he said.

More than one hundred passengers of the Titanic who found seats in lifeboats were drowned when the boats struck the water and capsized, according to Mr. Hyman. He says he saw one boat, containing fully fifty persons, lowered down the side of the great vessel, but before it reached the water the stern tackle caught and the boat struck the water bow first, throwing the shrieking passengers, mostly women, into the water. After he was taken aboard the Carpathia he says one capsized boat, with a steward riding astride the keel, was picked up, and the steward confirmed what he had himself seen. Three other boats were picked up, riding right side up, but empty.


Mr. Hyman says that among the third class passengers the confidence in the strength of the Titanic was so great that even when the officers began to fill the lifeboats there was no panic. The terror did not begin until the lurch of the vessel showed that it was sinking. then came two explosions, the last of which blew hundreds of persons off into the sea, maiming them and making their fight for life impossible. From the time the lights went out until the vessel plunged head first into the icy sea, he says, there was one prolonged cry as of a single, mighty animal in mortal agony.

Mr Hyman told his story to the Herald last night. He said:-

“My stateroom was in the third class cabin, well forward, and about two decks down from the top deck. Sunday night I sat chatting with several other passengers and went to bed a few minutes after ten o’clock. It must have been about half past eleven when I was awakened by a terrible shock. There was only one - just a bang and a rip - lasting a couple of seconds. Then everything was quiet. I didn’t know what had happened, but never dreamed it could be anything serious, so lay  in my bunk for twenty minutes listening. I could hear doors banging and passengers running to and fro asking what was the matter. Someone said everything was all right, but some were afraid.

“Then I got up and dressed and went out into the passage. A steward standing there told me roughly to go to the back of the ship, and I walked along the passage which ran the whole length of the vessel. On the way I passed a group of engineers and stokers, laughing, chatting and smoking cigarettes. I reached the after third class cabin, then climbed up to the top deck, where I stood fully twenty minutes. I knew the ship had hit something, but I didn’t think it could be anything serious - I don’t believe anybody on board suspected anything serious.


“All around me were passengers putting on life belts. Some of the women were a little frightened, but most were calm, and I thought the life belts were just an extra precaution. I looked for one but couldn’t find one. There were several back in my room, but I never thought to bring one along. I saw several people climbing up the stairs which led to a sort of house on the deck just in front of me, and I thought I would see what was the matter up there. I asked several officers if there was any danger, and they said ‘No, no; just keep calm.’

“I climbed up the stairs, and there were a lot of men and women standing about a lifeboat. The women were being helped in, but the men didn’t seem to want to get in. Then I noticed that it was the next to the last boat in that part of the ship. The others were all lowered, and I got a little uneasy. I climbed up onto the rail, and watching my chance, slipped into the boat just before they began to lower away. Most of the men thought they would be safer back on the boat, and some of them smiled at us as we went down.

“When we were nearly to the water we passed a big hole in the side of the boat. This was about three quarters of the way back toward the stern and the pumps were throwing a great stream of water out through it. It threatened to swamp our boat, and we got scared there were about ten men in the boat and we each took an oar and pushed the boat away from the side of the ship. That’s all that saved us.

“When we settled into the water we pulled away like mad, because we didn’t know whether the Titanic would sink or not and were afraid of the suction. When we were about fifty yards away I noticed that the portholes forward were lower than those aft, and then got my first impression that the ship was sinking. When we had pulled further away  I saw the iceberg. It was black and was about fifty yards astern of the Titanic.


“We pulled away about half a mile and then rested and watched. One by one I saw the forward portholes go out, just like some one was walking back through the ship and turning out the electric lights. Then we heard a small explosion and a terrible cry. The cry was blood curdling and never stopped until the Titanic went down, when it seemed to be sort of choked off. The cry is ringing in my ears now and always will. We sat there silent, we were terror stricken. In less than ten minutes there came a terrible explosion, and I could see men, women and pieces of the ship blown into the air from the after deck. Later I saw bodies partly blown to pieces floating around, and I am sure more than a hundred persons were blown off into the sea by that explosion. I met one man on the Carpathia who was blown off, but  caught a piece of a table and floated.

“At the second explosion the lights went out, all at once. Even the lights on the masthead went out. And everything was dark for a few moments. A terrible hissing of steam began and the awful cry went on. I tried to close my ears, but there was some mysterious attraction and I had to hear that cry.

“When my eyes got used to the dark I could make out the Titanic, still with the front part down in the water. That was about halfpast one, I guess. The hissing and screaming kept up, and finally the ship seemed to right itself, then suddenly the front end plunged down and she sank like a stone. The cry was choked off, and the hissing of steam stopped, but the sudden silence was almost more terrifying than the screams. We didn’t feel the suction, except for a big wave that rocked our boat about two minutes after.

“The women were crying, but the men in our boat were still. We rowed about for a while to try and find the other boats and finally came upon four more. We also found a lot of men floating around on tables and chairs but had no room to pick up any of them. One man had tied three deck chairs together and was floating all night.

“It was terribly cold. Some of the men in our boat took off their coats and threw them around the women, who were almost frozen. The wind began to blow sharply, and the boat started rocking a little, but the sea was never dangerous. In about two hours we saw a glint of light off to the west. We watched it for an hour, and then we could see that there were two lights and it must be a ship, so we rowed toward it. The exercise kept us men warm, but the women, most of them first cabin passengers, were nearly frozen to death. As soon as it got light we could see that the ship was the Carpathia, and we reached it in another hour. We had to be lifted aboard, as some of the women were unconscious. They gave us coffee and brandy and we felt better.

“There were boats coming towards the Carpathia from all sides; in some were men and women badly mangled. They had to be lifted aboard on stretchers, and if it hadn’t been so calm they could never have gotten aboard at all.

“The Carpathia stood by for about four hours, then another ship came up. I don’t know the name of it. They signalled to each other, then began to take a big circle, one on each side. The circle was about twenty miles across and in the middle was a big ice floe, fully ten miles wide, but I don’t think it was the one the Titanic struck. We picked up altogether sixteen boats; besides those we found three empty ones, and one had been capsized, with a man floating on top.

“The Carpathia then came back to where the Titanic sank. You could tell the place by the corks, boxes, bottles, chairs and things floating around on the water, and now and then a big cloud of bubbles would come up. Then we turned around and made for New York.”