| The sea was now
quiet. It had only been an hour since the Titanic sank. The ocean was littered with
motionless bodies and pieces of the Titanic. Second Officer Lightoller, standing on
collapsible B., soon discovered that wireless operator Harold Bride was also abaord. He
asked him which ships were on their way to rescue them. bride quickly responded with
"The Baltic, Olympic, and Carpathia."
Someone pointed out there was a faint glow coming from the Southeast. A masthead light appeared on the horizon, then another, and soon a green running light was seen. It was the Carpathia. They knew they were saved. The ship soon slowed down and approached lifeboat number 2. A rope ladder was thrown down to the survivors and the crew of the Carpathia helped the survivors aboard. When Boxhall got aboard hew was escorted directly to the Bridge. Captain Rostron asked "Were many people left aboard when she sank?" "Hundred and hundreds! Perhaps thousands! Perhaps more!" Boxhall cried. After a few moments Captain Rostron finally replied, "Thank you, mister. Go below and get some coffee, and try to warm up."
After all the survivors had boarded the Carpathia, the ship steamed towards the harbors of New York. By this time, the press had gotten word of the Titanic tragedy, and calls started to stream into the White Star offices. As the time neared for the Carpathia to reach port, over 10,000 people crowded the docks. Swarms of reporters wanting to buy the rights to survivors stories desperately searched for any leads into the Titanic.
Meanwhile, the Mackay-Bennet, a cable laying ship was left with the morbid task of collecting bodies. After almost five days at sea, many of the bodies had been terribly deteriorated. Armed with tons of ice, over a 100 coffins, 40 embalmers, and a canon to conduct burials at sea, the Mackay-Bennet collected a total of 328 bodies, 119 of which were unrecognizable.
After the two week holding period mass burials would take place. A great deal of work took place regarding the burial procedures. Many of the decisions were determined based on the victims last name. Catholics were buried at Mount Olicet Cemetery, Jews at the Baron de Hirsch Cemetery, and the remainder were buried at the non-sectarian Fairview Cemetery.
The burial began on Friday, May 3, 1912 at all three cemeteries. At Fairview, 121 coffins were buried. At the other two cemeteries individual graves were dug and 29 coffins were placed in the ground. Of all the 328 recovered dead, 128 remained unidentified. For the 1,523 passengers that perished on April 15th, the sea was the final resting place for 1,194 of them.
Back in New York, the Carpathia had docked ship. Most of the first class passengers either stayed in the citys finest hotels or boarded trains for other cities. Many of the third class passengers had all of their possessions taken away in the sinking, and most of them had no where to sleep. White Star happily complied with lodgings for any of the survivors who had no where to go.
There were two official inquires into the sinking of the Titanic. A Senate investigation was organized and was chaired by Senator William Alden Smith. The inquiry started on April 19, just four days after the sinking of the Titanic. Lasting 17 days, the hearings included testimony and affidavits from witnesses totaling 1,145 pages. The senate inquiry made its official report on May 28. Senator Smith chastised the British Board of Trade for their lack of standards, Captain Smith for not slowing down amidst iceberg warnings, and lastly Captain Lord, captain of the California for not responding to distress signals. On May 2, The Court of Inquiry convened under Wreck Commissioner Lord Mersey. By the end of the inquiry, over 25, 622 questions had been asked and answered. As a result of the inquiry, the Board of Trade drastically updated their maritime standards.
Overtime many conspiracies were derived to explain the disasterous end to the Titanic. The most popular was the Olympic/Titanic switch.