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THE SHIPPING DISASTER AT TIMARU.

» The funeral of the unfortunate Captain Mills took place yesterday afternoon, and was the largest over witnessed in Timaru, The procession extended to a quarter of a mile, and Masons from all the chief centres of the island were in attendance, besides the Oddfellows, Rocket Brigade, C Buttery of Artillery, public bodies, and about 400 private citizens. All business was suspended after two o’clock, and the streets were lined with people to witness the procession, and more deep-felt sympathy with any person could not have been expressed. The Church of England burial service was read by Archdeacon Harper, and the Masonic service by the Rev. Mr Beck.

Letters and telegrams of condolence continue to pour in from all parts of the colony, and subscription lists in aid of the families of tho sufferers have been opened in Timaru and several other places. An inquest is to be held on the three bodies that have come ashore, probably to-duy. A fourth body is floating in the surf. The Harbor Board held a special meeting yesterday. Captain Bascand was appointed Harbor-master. Preparations are being made to save the City of Perth, which is still almost uninjured, and there are strong hopes of getting her off. It is now thought that the list of the victims of the disaster is complete. The Harbor Board has decided to request the different Municipalities in New Zealand to open subscription lists toobtain subscriptions for the families of the men who lost their lives in connection with the late wrecks, and the Borough of Timaru will open such a list. The Timaru Herald of to-day contains the following particulars of the meeting of the Board : Captain Gutter said he would like to know whether the Board intended to

make any inquiry into the cause of the boating disasters. The Board was blamed for allowing the life-saving apparatus to be out of order, and for allowing everything to get into a muddle, and ho wished to get at the truth. He also wished to know whether it was the duty of the Board or of any of its officers to.go and pick up derelict vessels. It was through the Harbor Master doing this that the accidents and loss of life had occurred. He had never seen a more reckless sacrifice of human life than that going off to the City of Perth was; She had been abandoned by her master and crew as unsafe to remain upon; she was hanging only by a single rope, and there was no reasonable hope of saving her. The Board had no right to take charge of ships under such... circumstances. If a captain abandoned ' his vessel as dangerous, was itthe duty of the Board or its officials to go and take charge of it ? It was complained, also, . that the life-boat was not in a fit state to be launched when wanted, and it should be shown from whose fault that' n was so.

The Chairman said he might mention that Captain Mills elected to .take thß whale-boat in preference to the life-boat; when he went to. the ship. He said ha preferred the whale-boat; Captain Sutter understood that the lifeboat was disabled, by the oars and bnoys and life-preservers being taken out of her. If that was true, somebody was at fault, V for it must have been somebody’s duty to j see that the boat was kept in a serviceable condition. If fhe men .went out to take possession of the Ship they had ho business to Strip the life-boat. Hethdughtthe Board ought to enquire into it; and satisfy the public as to who was at fault; The enquiry would simply be into the loss of the ship, and the Board had another . , duty to peform. It was reported in the ■. papers and in the streets that the lifeboat f was unfit to go to sea, and the Board ought to know who was to blame for that; and also whether its officers are justified in going out to board ships under such circumstances. The boarding of the City of Perth he could only compare, in its reckless disregard ef human life, with the charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava. Mr Evans spoke in favor of a public inquiry. The Board was blamed by the - Press and the people, and it was but right that the blame, if any, should be placed upon the right shoulders. There would. have been no reason for a committee/ there would have been none* of these dis- - asters, if there had been a good tug here. The vessels would have been loaded and on their way home if the Board’s service had been in a proper and efficient state; n The loss of life and property was all due to the want of a tug. Captain Sutter said among the matters to be inquired into should be whether it ■■ was the duty of the Board’s officers to take charge of ships abandoned by their crews as dangerous to life, and the cause of the unpreparedness of the lifeboat for sea. The Chairman to Captain Sutter : I understand that the questions you wish to have answered are: Was Captain Mills justified in going off to the vessel ? What induced him to go? What induced Captain McDonald to go ? What induced the two to leave the vessel? and, Was the lifeboat in a fit state to go on duty when wanted ? Captain Sutter : And if not why not ?' Ultimately it was decided to hold an inquiry before certain members of the Board and several leading citizens, into the whole circumstances of the late casualty. It was also resolved that the various municipalities of the colony : be requested to open subscription lists in aid of the families of the deceased. The Board further decided to bear all the cost of the damage sustained, and the expenses incurred on the occasion of the wrecks, and s also the cost of the funerals.

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18820517.2.13

Bibliographic details

THE SHIPPING DISASTER AT TIMARU., Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 638, 17 May 1882

Word Count
1,001

THE SHIPPING DISASTER AT TIMARU. Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 638, 17 May 1882

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