At 11:40 PM many of the stewards were turning down the lights and cleaning the Titanic's public rooms and the last of the social gatherings were now breaking up. Meanwhile the crows nest, Frederick Fleet and Lee struggled to make out what was in the haze, for some odd reason binoculars were not in the nest. Suddenly Fleet jerked the warning bell three times and telephoned the bridge and sputtered, "Iceberg dead ahead!" into the reciever. "Thank you," Sixth Officer Moody replied. The Titanic was on a collision course with a huge iceberg and the officers in the crow's nest braced themselves for impact. On the Bridge, First Officer William Murdoch ordered the ships engines stopped, reversed, then turned hard to port and immeditaly close the 15 water-tight doors. So instead of hitting the iceberg head on which would have caused little or no damage, she swung around and scraped against the the ice for a full ten seconds. Ice had fell all over the open decks and many passengers were playing games such as having snowball fights or football. Captain Smith felt the impact and rushed in. "What have we hit?" Smith asked. "An iceberg, sir," Murdoch replied. The two men quickly sent for Thomas Andrews, the ship's designer who was working and hadn't noticed the collision. Shortly thereafter, Smith and Andrews went to see what had been damaged what they saw was horrifying. The iceberg had scaped below Titanic's waterline and damaging the side in at least five and perhaps six of the watertight compartments. Water was hurling into the ship's first five compartments and Titanic was incampable of floating with more than the first four compartments flooded.
The pumps in Boiler Room 6 were keeping the water out so far but water from Boiler Room 5 was now bursting from the forepeak and the bow slightly sank under the pressure as the water kept filling over like water through an ice cube tray. "How long have we?" Captain Smith asked Thomas Andrews. Andrews was Harland and Wolff's Managing Director scribble a few things on a notepad. "An hour and half, possibly two." He said grimfully. Captain Smith requested that Fourth Officer Boxhall estimate their position on a piece of paper and take the not the Wireless Room. Phillips and Bride were told to send out the call for assistance, a CQD (SOS) followed by the Titanic's call letters-MGY and the ship's position. The two men jokingly sent the transmission that read, "We have struck an iceberg, sinking fast come to our assistance at once." That was followed by a set of positions. The collision didnt wake all; for instance, people that were in a good sleep didnt even notice anything. But soon afterward, sailors walked door to door telling the passengers to put their life vests on becuase the ship was sinking. Shortly after midnight, Captain Smith ordered the lifeboats ready. Many of the crewmen had noticed that people were not frantically running around but they were quite calm.
Many of the women thought it would be safer on the ship but they were physically picked up and set into the lifeboats. On the port side only women and children were allowed in the boats; however, on the starboard side, men were permitted to get into the boats if there were no women in sight. At 12:45 AM, lifeboat 7 with a maximum capactiy of sixty-five was lowered into the water with just twenty-eight people on board. Meanwhile, Quartermaster George Rowe began firing the distress rockets every four or five minutes. Lifeboats were still leaving the ship only partially filled. At 1:15 AM, Lifeboat 1, that had a maximum capacity of forty was lowered with 12 people in it. The last wooden lifeboat, Lifeboat 4, was lowered shortly before 2:00 AM. The Titanic's richest man, John Jacob Astor handed his pregnant wife into the boat and denied the chance to get away with her. He helped other women into the boat and the boat made the 15 foot trip instead of the usual 70 foot journey to the ocean. At 2:05 AM Captain Smith went into the wireless room and told the two operators that they had done their duties and should look out for thier own saftey. Phillips stayed at his post as did boiler officers and electricans to keep the power on. At this time, the stern was rising steadily out of the water and the people either headed for the Stern or jumped off hoping to swim to one of the lifeboats. At 2:17 AM, the Titanic's Stern raised out of the water and stood at a 90 degree angle for a minute and eased down into the icy water. The only things left were bodies, lifeboats and trailing steam and soot. The Titanic was gone.