LONDON – It was the collision that never happened, the moment of peril that could have saved the Titanic.
A letter being auctioned this month documents the most bitter of ironies from the Titanic's doomed maiden voyage: the Titanic came within a few feet of striking another liner as it sailed from England, days before its destruction by an iceberg.
The April 11, 1912, letter from Titanic chief engineer Joseph Bell to his eldest son describes how, the day before, the ship's propeller current proved so powerful that it broke two other ships from their moorings at Southampton. One, the New York, nearly hit the passing Titanic.
"No damage was done but it looked like trouble at the time," Bell wrote three days before he and over 1,500 others died.