THE FRENCH PASS.
It is being brought” strongly before the eyes of the colony that some sort of regulation is required for steamers 'going through the celebrated French Pass at night. It was only a few nights ago that a Nelson steamer got out of the jaws of death by the skin of her teeth in this narrow pass having, as nearly as may be, been run down by the Waitaki as she was rounding the sharp and sudden point at the north entrance. The Nelson steamer managed to swing round by dexterous management on the part of her captain, and thus he was able to clear the Waitaki by all. that was wanted to save his steamer and the one that was passing him, but a few feet more, and there would have been but little hope that either one or other of the steamers would have been saved, aud considering the ugly character of the dangerous pass, the narrowness and depth of the channel, and the frowning cliffs on either side, the chance of rescue for the passengers would have been well nigh hopeless. The occurrence was the first of the kind that we remember iu many years, and perhaps it because people set it down as one probably never again be being so much against two steamers meeting in the French Pass, that after the first surprise created by the event, there was no more notice taken of the affair. On Saturday night last, however, we learn that almost an exact repetition of the scene occurred, the steamers this time being the Nelson steamer Charles Edward, and the West Coast steamer Grafton, We
are.told by a meagre telegram on the subject that the Charles Edward just managed to back out of the pass in time to allow the advancing Grafton to emerge into clear water. As we have already stated, the pass is one in which, should an accident occur, almost inevitable death would wait upon the passengers of the colliding vessels, and now that the occurrence of two hair-breadth escapes within a few days of each other has shown that the unexpected collision may happen at any moment, it would be ■well that the marine authorities should give thought to the framing of rules for the guidance of vessejs using the pass, the observance of which rules would save the occurrence of as dire a calamity as can be well imagined.
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