Like a bolt out of a clear blue sky came the wireless message on Monday, 15th April, 1912, that on Sunday night the great ship Titanic, on her maiden voyage across the Atlantic, had struck a gigantic iceberg, but that all the passengers were saved.
Additional news was soon received that the ship had collided with a mountain of ice in the North Altantic, off Cape Race, Newfoundland, at 10.25 Sunday evening, April 14th. At 4.15 Monday morning the Canadian Government Marine Agency received a wireless message that the Titanic was sinking and that the streamers towing her were trying to get her into shoal water near Cape Race, for the purpose of beaching her.
Wireless despatches up to noon Monday showed that the passengers of the Titanic were being transferred aboard the steamer Carpathia, a Cunarder, which left New York, April 13th, for Naples, Italy. Twenty boat-loads of the Titanic's passengers were said to have been transferred to the Carpathia then, and allowing 40 to 60 persons as the capacity of each lifeboat, some 800 or 1,200 person had already been transferred from the damaged liner to the Carpathia. They were reported as being taken to Halifax, whence they would be sent by train to New York.
Another liner , the Parisan, of the Allan Company, which sailed from Glasgow for Halifax on April 6th, was aid to be close at hand and assisting in the rescue. The baltic, Virginian and Olympic were also near the scene, according to the information received by wireless.
While badly damaged, the giant vessel was reported as still afloat, but whether she could reach port or shoal water was uncertain. The White Star officials declared that the Titanic was in no immediate danger of sinking, because of her numerous water- tight compartments.
"While we are still lacking definite information," Mr Franklin, vice president of the White Star Line, said later in the afternoon, "We believe the Titanic's passengers will reach Halifax, Wednesday evening. we have received no further word from Captain Haddock, of the Olympic, or from any of the ships in the vicinity, but are confident that there will be no loss of life."
With the understanding that the survivors would be taken to Halifax the line arranged to have thirty Pullman cars, two diners and many passenger coaches leave Boston Monday night for Halifax to get the passengers after they arrived.
Monday night the world slept in peace and assurance. A wireless message had finally been received, reading: "All Titanic's passengers safe."
It was not until nearly a week later that the fact was discovered that this message had been wrongly received in the confusion of messages flashing through the air, and that in reality the message should have read: "Are all Titanic's passengers safe?"
With the dawning of Tueday morning came the awful news of the true fate of the Titanic.