New Titanic letter recounts horror

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The darkness and terror on the night the Titanic sank are described in a letter, released yesterday, written by survivor Laura Mabel Francatelli shortly after the disaster.

The letter, along with her official affidavit during a subsequent legal inquiry and her life preserver, will be sold at a Christie's auction on May 16. The life preserver was signed by men and women aboard the lifeboat...

[After finally boarding an emergency lifeboat] she wrote, "...we went down into the blackness of the water. Which never shall I forget. There wasn't a light, or a lamp in the boat...We rowed away from the ship, which was sinking fast so to get away from the swell or suction. Then all the rest is too terrible for me to write. The screams of the hundreds of dear women, children and the bravest of men fighting in the icy cold waves, I still hear."

The letter continued, "Oh, you cannot imagine anything more terrible, than a ship wreck at the dead of night that most beautiful and wonderful boat like a floating town sinking so quickly. I watched the whole of it from our little boat and saw all the lights go out, and the very last of her, then the terrible explosion of rumbling, followed by the cries and screams of the hundreds all in the water..."

[The 95th Titanic Memorial Weekend will be in Halifax, Nova Scotia, from April 13-15.]

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