Olympic champion Mel Sheppard was an eyewitness to the aftermath of one of the most famous disasters in history: the sinking of the Titanic.

Shortly after winning three gold medals in the 1908 Olympics, Sheppard wrote to President Theodore Roosevelt and asked for help in securing a job as a customs inspector at the port of Philadelphia.

Sheppard got the job. A couple of years later, he was transferred to the Port of New York.

Sheppard was on duty on the night of April 18, 1912, when the RMS Carpathia arrived at Pier 54 at Little W. 12th St. with 705 survivors from the Titanic.

"It was one of the most pathetic as well as inspiring sights I ever saw," Sheppard wrote in 1924.

Sheppard wrote that the port was packed with people anticipating the arrival of the 541-foot steamship that had raced to the site of the Titanic's sinking.

He wrote that a table was set up just off the gangplank on which money was piled; survivors were encouraged to take as much as they felt they needed.

- Phil Anastasia