A staggering movement ... an explosion... and I heard a sailor shout, “She’s hit!”
looked around for a means to get down to the deck again – I did not see the small iron ladder which led up to the lifeboat deck. I imagine it was knocked away in the hurry of some people who were rushing up on deck from all over the ship.
To the lifeboats
I jumped down from the lifeboat deck to the main deck. The water was ankle deep. A raft was cut loose and slipped into the sea.
I heard a woman shouting, “Save my baby!” I looked around and saw at least two women with small children in their arms. People were hurrying from one part of the ship to another, all endeavouring to make for the nearest lifeboat.
The Caribou was hit amidships, on the starboard side. I stepped into a lifeboat and there were about 15 other people in this boat, which was then tossing about at just below deck level of the sinking Caribou.
I noticed as we pushed away from the Caribou that water was slowly coming into our boat. Someone shouted, “Get the plugs!” But there were no plugs. Apparently, they were lost in manning the boats.
Someone shouted, “Get a bucket and bail her out!” But there was no bucket; and, so, gradually, our lifeboat began to fill up and dip deeper and deeper into the sea. After sizing up our predicament I imagined there was about 50 persons in the boat when we pushed away from the Caribou.
We were about 75 feet away from the torpedoed ship when our lifeboat capsized. I jumped into the sea and swam around for about 10 minutes.
The water was icy cold and my clothes, after a little while, began to cling heavily at my tiring arms and legs. I swam for an oar of our boat a big wave.
While hugging the oar I was suddenly seized by the neck, and I saw the terror-stricken face of a woman staring straight at me and screaming for help. I knew that in a very short time this woman would certainly drag both of us to our doom.
I shouted to her to take hold of the oar as it was about 12 feet long. She was too terrified to let me go and so I put my right foot up under her armpit and helped her to the other end of the oar.
She grabbed the oar, and I saw another lifeboat rowing to our aid and I set out to meet it. Several times I went under huge waves and was tossed about helplessly; I seized hold of the ropes along the side of this boat, very tired.
Two other men were being dragged into this boat. I was finally hauled into safety almost exhausted and very cold and shivering. There was no one hurt that I know of in that