Past omissions came home to roost. Why hadn’t the lifeboats, of which there were too few in any case, been swung out in anticipation of being needed? Why hadn’t the davits and block and tackle been de-iced at regular intervals? In addition, there was the absence of the crew members trapped in the forward part of the ship when the watertight doors were closed and perhaps alive. The naval recruits from the training division had no experience with lifeboats. The mass of people crowding from the upper deck onto the slick ice-coated sundeck, which was also the boat deck, slipped and slid as the boat listed. Already the first ones went flying overboard, because there was nothing to hang on to. Not all of those who fell wore life jackets. Now many jumped into the water out of sheer panic. Because of the heat inside the ship, most of those making their way onto the sundeck were too lightly dressed to withstand the shock of an air temperature of 18 degrees Celsius and correspondingly low water temperature was it two or three degrees warmer? Even so they jumped.

from Crabwalk by Günter Grass