Titanic Survivor's Letter Details Sinking in Heartbreaking, Vivid Detail

by
Lauren Burgoon
A Frenchwoman who made it off the Titanic alive gives a nearly minute-by-minute account of the doomed ship's sinking in a letter just published.

The harrowing night the Titanic sank, 1,517 people died. Though a French maid, Amelie Icard, only narrowly escaped their fate, she never stopped dreaming about the night "unforgettable scenes where horror mixed with the most sublime heroism."

In a newly revealed letter, written four decades after the sinking, Icard vividly recounts the terror that night, as families were ripped from each other's arms and passengers sacrificed their lives for others, knowing they were about to die. 

A reddit user posted the 1955 letter, asking for help translating Icard's account. Another user obliged, uncovering a tale that started with the iceberg collision and ended with the wrenching aftermath aboard the Carpathia.

"We felt beneath our feet the deck lean towards the depths," the translation reads, going on to describe scenes of despair, such as a pair of notable passengers vowing to die together rather than be separated. 

After the survivors were rescued, Icard recounted passengers beset by grief. 

"The young women were there without their husbands, mothers without their sons; a young mother whom a wave had snatched her child from had gone insane. ... Some survivors told the story of the horrific moments during which all human feelings were opposed."

Icard was 38 years old and working as a maid for Martha Evelyn Stone when they sailed on Titanic. Both survived. Icard's letter was written in 1955 when she was 83; she died in 1964.

Read the full translation on reddit.