THEME THURSDAY: LATE
I was thinking of the phrase "better late than never" and how in most cases it seems innocent enough. However, my mind took a turn to when being late actually results or has resulted in devastation, especially when being precisely on time or even early could have prevented a catastrophe. A great example of this is in the case of the Titanic tragedy of 1912.
On Titanic's maiden voyage from Southampton, England, she cast off and departed precisely on time. That was on Wednesday, April 10, 1912 at noon. On Titanic's second day at sea, the wireless operators began receiving the first of many iceberg warnings from a number of ships in the North Atlantic,some of which reported that they had been forced to cease their voyages due to encountering dense icebergs and ice fields. However,Titanic's Captain Smith ignored the warnings and continued on, powering the vessel at full strength with the ferocity of its 30,000 horsepower engines blazing.
As history has revealed, not all the ice warnings reached the bridge. Tragically, the wireless had broken down on Friday night, and a number of unsent messages multiplied, destined to remain in a sort of limbo until the radio was fixed. As the operators worked to clear the backlog, most of the messages were of little importance- a large number of them from elite passengers sharing the wonders of their trip to friends and family. Consequently, because the operators focused on these mundane messages, late ice warnings were never delivered to Captain Smith or his officers. In fact, the California, a near-by ship, endeavored to contact Titanic as late as 10 minutes prior to impact with the ill-fated iceberg. The response from Titanic? The wireless operators told them to "Shut-up!". At 11:40PM Titanic hit the iceberg. The lookout on duty, Frederick Fleet, was the first to spot the iceberg. Mistakenly,he believed it to be a small mass a mile or so away from the ship. He rang the "three-bell alarm" and then telephoned the bridge. It was then that first officer Murdoch shouted, " Hard a starboard and full speed astern!"...It was too late.
Sadly, we all know how this story ended....