Unsinkable Titanic survivor discusses 'night to remember'
BY ANN CAREY
Sunday Paper Writer
(Left) "THE SINKING OF THE Titanic and Great Sea Disasters," a book printed shortly after the loss of the liner on April, 1912, is held by Mrs. Emil (Anna) Lundi of Ashtabula. Mrs. Lundi, who will be 83 in June, is a survivor of the sinking of the Titanic.
(Sunday Paper Photo)
ASHTABULA-"I thank God every day for everything. I am a happy lady."
As she spoke these words, Mrs. Emil (Anna) Lundi of Ashtabula knew well why she had reason to be thankful and happy. She is one of the few remaining survivors of what the world has come to call "a night to remember." She is a survivor of the sinking of the Titanic.
Mrs. Lundi, reflecting that April 14 is the 64th anniversary of the sinking, commented thoughtfully, "Time goes fast."
Mrs. Lundi, who will be 83 June 20, resides at 1459 W. 9th St.
The former Anna Turja, she left her native Finland in April, 1912, bound for Ashtabula, where she was to live with her sister, Mrs. Mary Lundi. She later became the wife of her sister's brother-in-law, Emil Lundi. The couple had seven children.
It was no ordinary liner on which the 18-year-old girl sailed. It was the wonder ship, the "unsinkable" Titanic. The young Finnish immigrant was one of more than 2,200 passengers.
She described the vessel as being a beautiful ship, just like a town, lacking nothing. There were swimming pools, concert halls, libraries. The third class accommodations were beautiful, she said, recalling her own third class room.
Despite warnings, the Titanic sailed "full ahead" into the iceberg-infested Atlantic the night of April 14, 1912. The Titanic sealed its doom when it collided with a huge iceberg, most of it submerged under water.
Mrs. Lundi was not quite asleep in her bed when the collision happened. She said the ship shook and shuddered. She was not afraid, she said. The myth of unsinkability persisted.
She put on her life preserver, certain she would not need it. She dressed in her warmest clothing and shortly was ordered up on deck. The extreme cold (the Atlantic was about 31 degrees) is vivid in her memory.
Mrs. Lundi said she could see the lights of another ship not far away on the horizon. It is presumed this was the small liner, the Californian, which had shut down its wireless for the night and stopped dead in the water to wait for the dawn before venturing through the field ice. This vessel did not hear the SOS and frantic calls from the stricken liner.
As she milled about the deck with the others, it became increasingly clear that indeed the ship was in peril. She recalls that a crew member grabbed her and put her into one of the last lifeboats. She never learned his name. The Titanic did not carry enough lifeboats for all.
She said her lifeboat was so laden with people that its rim was only inches above the icy, slushy water. She said the Titanic's lights stayed on almost until the end. She recalls that the boilers exploded, the lights went out and the Titanic slipped beneath the sea before her eyes.
Mrs. Lundi said she could hear a gurgling sound from the depths of the ship and the suction of the sinking caused waves to lap at her lifeboat.
She said she could never forget the screams and pleadings of those struggling in the ocean. She was among the 700 to live. More than 1500 perished.
As the night wore on, people lit dollar bills and other items as signals to keep the drifting lifeboats together. Finally, the morning of April 15, a small liner, the Carpathia, came to rescue them.
Mrs. Lundi recuperated in a Catholic hospital in New York and then boarded a train to Ashtabula, her home ever since. She lost all her possessions when the Titanic went down. However, people donated money and clothing so she could make the trip to Ashtabula.
Today she lives quietly in the Ashtabula Harbor area. "I love my home," she says.
And she continues to thank God every day.
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