The storm and the Ship’s violent rolling had kept Fred Reddiough awake all night.
At the first impact, those who were not thrown out of their bunks quickly jumped out. Some tried to find clothing to pull on : most rushed for the nearest staircase.
As the ship stopped, on the Captain’s order to reverse engines, waves washed over the Main Deck and flooded down the openings into the cabins below. The one shared by Fred and the other sick – berth attendants was soon ankle – deep in water.
He pulled on a pair of pants, grabbed a lifebelt and ran. Everything loose had been thrown to the deck and as he passed a line of bunks some broken bottles were rolling past. The sharp edge of one of them almost severed his big toe.
Just as the ship ran on to The Scar, some eight minutes after the first impact, Fred reached the Saloon passage. Water rushed in and crashed him against the wall. All the lights went out. Fred groped his way up the stairs that led up to the Main Deck.
Copyright © Ken Wilson 1981