Carpathia, skippered by Captain Arthur Rostron (from Liverpool), at Pier 54 in New York City, after safely rescuing Titanic's survivors in April of 1912. Six years and three months later, Carpathia was fatally torpedoed by U-55, a German submarine, during World War I. Image online, courtesy U.S. National Archives.
Covering the distance of fifty-eight miles in 3½ hours, Captain Rostron later received a Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroism. He had to skipper his ship through the same ice-filled sea which had stopped the Californian and had sunk the Titanic. He testified at the U.S. Senate hearing:
...I made out an iceberg about a point on the port bow, to which I had to port to keep well clear of. Knowing that the Titanic had struck ice, of course I had to take extra care and every precaution to keep clear of anything that might look like ice.
Between 2:45 and 4 o’clock, the time I stopped my engines, we were passing icebergs on every side and making them ahead and having to alter our course several times to clear the bergs.
At 4 o’clock I stopped.
At 4:10 I got the first boat alongside.
Not allowing anyone on board his ship to use hot water (so his engines had all available steam), Rostron still arrived too late for people whose sole means of survival were life jackets. That he arrived at all was incredible:
The whole thing was absolutely providential. I will tell you this, that the wireless operator was in his cabin, at the time, not on official business at all, but just simply listening as he was undressing...He had this apparatus on his ear, and the message came. That was the whole thing. In 10 minutes, maybe he would have been in bed, and we would not have heard the messages.
Once Stanley Lord, the Californian’s captain, realized what had happened to the Titanic, he also raced to the scene. When he arrived, at 8 a.m., he found nothing of the ship but wreckage.
Captain Rostron did not want his rescued passengers to see any dead bodies. He wanted them to leave their ice-filled surroundings as quickly as possible. By 8:50 a.m. he was steaming back to New York, having altered his original course to Gibraltar.
The bodies would be retrieved by others.