Rescued by Modern Technology
by Steve Payne
says: what if lone radio operator Cyril Evans hadn't gone to sleep for
the night of April 16th? Please note that the opinions expressed in this
satirical post do not necessarily reflect the views of the author(s).
April 16th 1912,
to Digg our site.on-board the British Steamship SS Californian
at a quarter after midnight, twenty-year old Cyril Furmstone Evans became
the first wireless telegraphy operator in history to receive an SOS signal
transmitted in Morse Code.
The distress call originated from the White Star Line passenger ship the
RMS Titantic, which had struck an iceberg, tearing a gaping hole
long enough to flood five of the water-tight compartments below the
waterline. Despite the seeming wonders of modern technology, the stricken
vessel was in fact so close that officers of the Californian could see the
lights on-board the ship.
Evans had also reported three large icebergs fifteen miles (24 km) north
of the course the Titanic was heading. But he was rudely rebuffed by the
wireless operator of the Titanic, Jack Phillips, who was sending private
messages to the wireless relay station at Cape Race. And Captain Edward J.
Smith was so eager to make the maiden crossing in record time that he was
sailing at 22 knots in the iceberg-strewn seas off the Newfoundland coast.
Fortunately for the White Star Line, the close proximity of the two ships
enabled a successful rescue mission to be mounted. Later it emerged that
the Titanic was only carrying enough lifeboards for less than half the
passengers. And so most contemporary observers simply noted further
evidence of mankind's growing supremacy in the eternal struggle with the
forces of nature.
says to view guest historian's comments on this post please visit the
Today in Alternate History web site.
Steve Payne, Editor of
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