The same edition of the Twillingate Sun carried this item regarding a British enquiry into the Titanic tragedy:
“British inquiry into the Titanic disaster shows that the ship was going at full speed, and that the crew had had no boat drill, that the men did not know their stations, that boats were inadequately manned, and that they contained no compasses, lights, stores, rations, or water. Important evidence elicited yesterday in the British inquiry on the Titanic disaster was, that the iceberg penetrated the stokehole and also the spare bunker wherein fire had been found raging that Sunday when fire damaged the bulkhead, and possibly of quickening the vessel’s sinking.”
There you have it – how most people on Fogo Island found out about the sinking of the Titanic on April 15, 1912. There may have been only a dozen or so people on Fogo Island who actually subscribed to the Twillingate Sun, but it wouldn’t have been long before news of this tragic event was passed on. I can imagine it being the topic of conversation, not only in kitchens, but in store-lofts, in the general stores, at meetings, and a host of other ways.
Icebergs, as I have often said, were, in general back then, the enemy. Very few would have a painting of one on their walls.
But does history repeat itself and could such a disaster happen again? This past year, after a hundred years and certainly with ‘nary’ an iceberg in sight, the cruise ship Costa Concordia took a nose-dive on the night of Jan. 13, after hitting a reef in broad daylight off the Italian coast and running aground at Isola del Giglio, Tuscany. Fortunately, in this disaster, 4,252 people were safely rescued, but at least 30 others lost their lives. Captain Francesco Schettino, so the reporting went, deviated from the ‘computer-controlled’ route to treat people on Giglio island to the spectacle of a close sail-past or near-shore salute. You are aware that Captain Smith of the Titanic went down with his ship, and according to this account, was holding a child. What about Captain Schettino of the Costa Concordia? According to many reports he left his ship during the evacuation and did not reboard despite orders by maritime officials. He has since been arrested and is awaiting trial.
Anybody reading this can recall how instant and up-to-date the news of the sinking of the Costa Concordia was delivered to us. How will people considering this event in 2112 evaluate the communication then as to what it will be then?