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THE WRECK OF THE AJACE.

A Terrible Scene of Shipwreck, Despair, and Suicide. . A recent issue of the New York Herald contains the following thrilling story of the wreck of the barque Ajace, off the coast of Now York ;—The Ajace a barque of 656 tons register, built at Yalti, Italy, in 1872, and owned in Genoa—sailed from Antwerp on the 17th of December last, and was laden with empty kerosene barrels and ballasted with iron. The voyage was uneventful until she was within about two hundred miles of the American coast, and then the wind freshened, and there were portents of a storm. Nearing the coast, she was gfazed by another Vessel. ; This craft, by the report of her captain, was the John Boyd, from Dunkirk, France. It appears the collision occurred off Fire Island. There was a little fog at night, but not enough to alarm' Captain Morice, of the Ajace, for he said to his men, J ‘ '1 o-morrow we shall see the lights of Sandy Hook and Neversink." On the following morning they did see the lights. Then a dense fog fell over the water, and a storm swept down upon the vessel. .Captain Morice, having seen no pilot, and knowing his peril in the rising tempest, hade all hands stay on deck that’ night, and close reefed Lis sails, and the entire crew were on deck when his - vessel struck »t eight o’clock the next morning. The , only survivor, Sala; was at the helm. ; -Immediately after the barque went on the shoals, the captain ordered all the stays to be cut away and thrown overboard, and - 1 ibis was promptly done. This was fol-

iowea oj tne falling of tee topmasts. Heavy seas broke over the barque, and . something was carried away .at every ‘ lurch. Captain Morice went below with , one of the sailors, a Greek named George, who had his leg broken by the wreckage, v apd on his return to the men, the captain ' had a bottle of brandy for them. He eUVreyed the scene for a moment, and then said, “Here, boys, probably we c most die’; let assail die welt There’s plenty of brandy on board; join me.” - Bjit- tho. terrified seamen declined the proffered cheer—all but Sala; and he .drank copibusly> saying, “ I’ll: join you, . captain.”' All the men, but the captain f and Sala and four • who had ‘ gone below, ; stood appalled.. These four—two Italians, : known as Giovanni and David, and the ; Carpenter and the steward—soon re-ap-peared on the deck with razors, which o they ; hadtaken from their berths, and 1 _when. they where again assured that there . was no hope the carpenter begged one of ; his companions to cut his throat, as ho dieb.<that way rather than by itdrowning. Hisrtequest was not complied .with, h«t soon >an agreement was effected •dnder. which, the four were to cut each throata. Tfais they did simoltaneously as the vessel gave a lurch that seeded -to heher last;) but she did not go dqwn, and the four stood with blood f10w- ... j|pg jEromtheirwounds, still able to walk wadt , speak, ;r. Suddenly the steward bejthought.him of .a picture of a Madonna rathe captain’s cabin, and he hurried down and gotit, and, returning with it te the deck, t knelt with ■it held up In his handstand: ' began to pray fervently, the .blood flowing copiously from the wound rnjhlsjlhroatmeanwfaile. The other three had been cut stood around

£DB,-punorej praying aavouuy, ana awaited death. Meantime Sala crawled down the sailor whose leg had been broken. He shoaled, “ Georgia, Georgia, where are i’ bu ?” , But there ■ was no answer. The , old. was filling - with, witter, and it is not doubted that man had already been drbWned.Bala hastened to the deck and found the/lour men who had cut ; each other’s throats standing ,by the captain’s cabin, holding the picture of the Virgin above their header and btill praying. : But for only a moment did he see them ; for as hesteppedtoward' them h ’ great ’ wave * swept with ’ tremendous momentum across • thedeefe and . Sala; knew nothing more untilhe .found himself struggling among nndpieces of the wreck j inthe waves. Ho clutched at a piece of the mizzenmast, and gained ahold. Be saw {nothing; but -.'wreck around him. S6on,;howaver, two heads rose near him, and twoof. his fellows struggled toward the mast' that was supporting him. One, a sailor Whom Sala did not recognise, caught the mast, but a wave swept-him ojfii. rand,'he Wank. The other, the carpenter, with blood still flowing from his ;tow : Weak to grasp the mast, and Sua, working himself over to a place on which hpcoalastUnd—it was a part of the poop deck on which he stood when the Aj»<j® Trent to the mast byjone hand and with the other drew, the Whundedcarpenter up to: the mast -He wed, ‘‘/Why did you cut your throat?” TJje dying sailor answered, “What should I-doA- Jt»ightms welldieone way as the other.” . Sala threw one of the carpenter’s ahris around the mast, and tried to hold it there, but .the heavy seas forbade, and tbe man, pile to ghastliness with the loss of bloody fell back into the 7 Waters and sank. Then Sala was alone in the fog and rain. He waved his bat and shouted, for he knew bysobnds he had heard that he was floating: toward the shore. He was benumbed,- and bnt for a pair of heavy gloves his hands, he says, must have frozen. . He was not conscious of this unlibafterhis resouei He shouted until a quarter to'eleven , and then he heard the thrice: grateful dip of oars. No language can voice his gratitude to Captain Beyepsee and- the hie saving crew; Bala describes the, men who were lost as follows The captain, the mate, the oarTiAnfjm Yf.ltmaf. r»nf\ fTia siawssil /ikweaf

yn*i*v«ni VUV/| WO AIU 1 cat), the boatswain, five Italian seamen—viz., Migeel, thirty-five years of age; Giovanni, twenty-five (throat cut); Gariy, fifteen ; fyugi,. fifteen ; and David, twenty (throat out) ; two Austrians namely, Giovanni, thirty jears; and . George, •thirty,; .and a. Greek, fifty years old, knbWh a* Qebijge, who had a leg broken, was piobably the Erst that perished. ' 1 Sala triw wrecked when he was sixteen ./■ years old in the Black Sea, and. later off msmt a' third, time in the

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18810603.2.15

Bibliographic details

THE WRECK OF THE AJACE., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 361, 3 June 1881

Word Count
1,049

THE WRECK OF THE AJACE. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 361, 3 June 1881

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