On the night of April 14-15, 1912, the ocean liner "Titanic" collided with a giant iceberg and, having received numerous holes, sank. Almost 1, 500 people were killed in the terrible catastrophe.
It is known that the ship's captain Edward Smith, a 62-year-old British officer who was assigned to command the Titanic, was also among the dead. After the first voyage of the legendary ship, Smith intended to retire.
There are several versions of the death of the old sea wolf. Some claimed that the captain shot himself. The famous oceanographer Robert Ballard, who had been searching for the Titanic for many years, assured that Smith had gone under water, standing on the bridge with a megaphone in his hand. The same version was expressed by the ship's steward Edward Brown, who allegedly saw the captain in the last minutes of his life.
Fireman Garry Senior claimed to have seen a man very similar to Smith in the water. Another stoker of the Titanic, Walter Hirst, assured that he saw the corpse of the captain in the water. Hirst tried to hold out the oar to him, but Edward Smith was already dead. It was impossible to confirm or deny any of these versions: the captain's body was never found. At the same time, the very fact of Smith's death was not disputed by anyone.
It is not surprising that the real sensation was caused by an article in the English newspaper Daily Telegraph (by the way, the article also appeared in the New York Times, The Washington Herald and other well-known publications), published in July 1912. It reported that a certain Captain Peter Praial, an old sailor who knew Smith from joint service on the Majestic, claimed that he had seen the captain of the Titanic in New York on St. Paul's Street. Moreover, not only saw, but also talked to him.
Having met a man very similar to the deceased Smith, Praial decided that he was having hallucinations. But he decided to go after him.
"How are you, Captain Smith?" - Praial dared to speak
- Very good, Praial! But do not delay me, I am in a hurry. - answered the mysterious interlocutor.
Praial decided to track down a man who looked so much like the deceased Captain Smith. He went to the station and took a ticket to Washington, telling his colleague: "Rest assured until the day we meet again."
Praial argued that he could not be wrong, as he knew Edward Smith well. He was convinced that Smith had escaped and got to America. Moreover, Praial was ready to confirm the accuracy of his words under oath.
The correspondent who spoke with Praial claimed that he was a modest and non-drinking person who did not strive for self-promotion and knew perfectly well that his words would be treated with distrust.
It is difficult to say who exactly Praial met on New York Street, but no other evidence has been found to confirm that the Titanic's captain survived.