Thurston County Connection Newsletter
Thurston County Connection
Thurston County Connection
June, 2014
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 Olympian Survives Titanic Sinking!

From the archives.

Anna Sjoblom, a Finnish immigrant, turned 18 the day the Titanic struck an iceberg, 100 years ago this April. She was on her way to reunite with her father, Gabriel Gustafson, in Olympia. Years later, she married Gordon Kinkaid and lived on Jefferson Street in Olympia until her death in 1975. The following excerpts are from the April 30, 1912 edition of The Olympia Daily Recorder, courtesy of olyblog.net.

OLYMPIAN SAID TO BE TITANIC VICTIM—GIRL SURVIVOR ARRIVES HERE


April 14, the day of the Titanic wreck, was Miss Anna Sjoblom's 18th birthday. "I woke up when the boat struck the iceberg," she said, speaking through a translator. "Everyone became excited at once. I got up and put on some clothes so that I could go outside. My railroad ticket to Tacoma and a small amount of money was sewed in a little bag and hung around my neck, so that I could not lose it."

"Water began coming up where I was, and I fought my way to get above it. I went up the stairs to the deck above and then tried to climb clear to the top. I climbed as far as a window, where I hung by my fingers. I couldn't go farther and I couldn't go back to the deck again. I waited there some minutes. I was awfully afraid that I would fall and kill myself. Then an officer saw me and dragged me up to the next deck."

"Everywhere everybody was confused. I tried to get into a lifeboat and was pushed back. The boats kept filling up and going over the side, and it seemed as though I would go down with the ship. I remember watching a little boy about 13 years old, whose parents had gone off in one of the lifeboats. He slipped into a boat and was thrown back upon the deck by a sailor. He crept into another boat and again they threw him back to the deck. The third time he slipped into a boat and was saved.

“The boat that I got into finally was the next to the last boat launched. There must have been 50 people in it. It was so crowded that we sat on each other's laps, three deep. While the boat was being lowered, a man jumped into it from the deck above. He came down feet first on my head and nearly broke my neck. I was in intense pain for hours.

“When we rowed away from the Titanic, my face was toward the sinking steamer, and the things I saw I never will forget. I saw an officer shoot himself. I saw passengers throw themselves overboard, shrieking for help. I saw men in the water, floating on lifebelts, who were crusted with ice so thick that you could hardly make out their faces. I saw dead bodies floating about, covered with ice. Oh, it was too terrible to talk about. The reports were wrong when they say the boilers exploded. The ship just gradually sank in front, the bow went down out of sight, the lights, the low ones first and then the higher around the side of the hull, blinked out, one after the other. Then the steamer, without a sound, except the shrieks of the people still on board, stood right up on end. It stood there several moments, then slid straight down into the water."

By Keith Eisner

Titanic headlines announced the sinking. Titanic headlines announced the sinking.