Wednesday, May 27, 2009
RIGEL and the TITANIC - fact or fiction?
Several movies have been made over the years recounting the sinking of the Titanic on 21 April 1912. Few of the movies depited the dogs which were included on the ship's manifest. There were several of various breeds and all but two perished.
Christine Jamesson, a Titanic researcher, published the allegedly factual story, 'The Legend of Rigel' about a Newfoundland - the pet of the First Mate.
On the fateful night when the 'unsinkable' ship sailing on its maiden voyage hit an iceberg more than 1500 souls perished.
Had it not been for the response of the SS Carpathia even those who had managed to find a seat in a lifeboat would have also died of exposure to the cold.
Too weak to cry out a warning and with no light signal their predicament, one of the lifeboats was almost run down by the rescue ship.
But in the water beside the boat was RIGEL, the Newfoundland, who for 3 hours had been swimming around in the icy water presumably looking for his master.
As the Carpathia steamed towards them the dog's bark was heard by the captain attracting the crew to the plight of the survivors.
All on board the lifeboat were saved and RIGEL, wet but still warm was pulled from the water.
Once safely on board the ship, one of the seamen took RIGEL to his cabin and became the Newfoundland's new master.
Whether this story is fact or fiction is yet to be established.
In fact, the body of one woman was found in the water. She was clinging to a large dog, probably a Newfoundland, but both had succumbed to the elements.
Pic: Courtesy of Newflands, NZ [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Photo by Unicorn Images NZ