Some time later, according to Skrine, "a delicious dreaminess invaded my senses." He fainted and was the last person to be rescued, after four hours in the water. He was taken to a private house overlooking the park, where he recovered consciousness seven hours after the disaster. His frozen fingers were so tightly wrapped around the rungs that they had to carry him to the house complete with the ladder. He lost his fingernails, but otherwise suffered no permanent harm. Two days later he was up again, helping the authorities to drag the lake for bodies.
The great disaster, like most of its kind, produced unexpected heroes. Once ice starts to break, no part of its surface is safe. Yet an elderly laborer was seen to walk across the cracking surface to an island, sling an unconscious man across his back and then walk back to shore. A medical student named Whitefoord saved at least five people. He hauled them to the island with a rope, gave them brandy and then assisted them 200 yards to the shore.
That night eight bodies were recovered and taken to a temporary mortuary at the Marylebone workhouse; next day there were a further 15, including an orange vendor, a 9-year-old boy, a butler, a rich city merchant—a cross section of all London. In the end no fewer than 42 bodies were recovered. Many were young men in their prime; not a few were the players of the energetic young game of hockey on ice.