"Down and down, I went, spinning in all directions. Swimming as hard as I could in the direction which I thought to be away from the ship, I finally came up with my lungs bursting, but not having taken any water."
After some struggle he came up next to an upturned lifeboat. The men already clinging to it pulled him up.
Young Thayer was shocked that many lifeboats had plenty of space but none returned to rescue those calling for help in the water for fear their boats would be swamped.
"The most heartrending part of the whole tragedy was the failure, right after the Titanic sank, of those boats which were only partially loaded, to pick up the poor souls in the water. There they were, only four or five hundred yards away, listening to the cries, and still they did not come back. If they had turned back several hundred more would have been saved."
Thayer was on the last lifeboat to be rescued by the Carpathia, a Cunard liner, at about 7.30am. He found his mother on board but not his father.
He describes the next three days trip to New York full of sorrow.
“The trip back to New York was one big heartache and misery. It seemed as if there were none but widows left, each one mourning the loss of her husband. It was a most pitiful sight."
Having survived the Titanic Thayer married another heiress to a railway fortune and carried on in business. In 1944 his son, a US air force pilot, was killed over the Pacific. His mother also died.
Tragically Thayer committed suicide at the age of 50, the age his own father was when he died on board the Titanic.