London - An account of the sinking of the Titanic written by a survivor
who was secretary to a controversial aristocrat has sold for 20 000 pounds,
auctioneers in Britain
said on Sunday.
Laura Francatelli wrote of
how she heard an "awful rumbling" as the liner went down before
hearing "screams and cries" from hundreds of drowning passengers.
She was travelling with her
employer, Scottish landowner Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon and his wife Lady Lucy
Christiana when the disaster struck in 1912.
Duff-Gordon and his party
boarded one of the last lifeboats, which had space for 40 people but only ended
up carrying five passengers and seven crew.
He later paid the crew
members around five pounds each - the equivalent of about 300 pounds today -
and had to defend himself against claims that he had paid them off to secure
his own safety.
Tells what happened
In one of the most vivid
passages of her account - an affidavit for the British inquiry into the
disaster - Francatelli detailed what happened after their lifeboat was lowered
into the sea.
"We kept on rowing and
stopping and rowing again I heard some talk going on all about the suction if
the ship went down," she wrote.
"We were a long way
off when we saw the Titanic go right up at the back and plunge down.
"There was an awful
rumbling when she went. Then came the screams and cries. I do not know how long
they lasted. We had hardly any talk. The men spoke about God and prayers and
wives. We were all in the darkness."
The Titanic hit an iceberg
in the Atlantic Ocean on her maiden voyage from Southampton, southern England,
to New York City in April 1912, killing around 1 500 people.
Francatelli's account was
sold on Saturday to an unnamed eastern European collector by auctioneers Henry
Aldridge and Son in Devizes, southwest England as part of an auction of
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