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THE LOSS OF THE COTOPAXI

[London Correspondent.] The Cotopaxi sailed from Liverpool with a large number of passengers, the South American and Pacific mails, specie, and a general cargo for Valparaiso. The ship reached the Strait of Magellan m safety, and left Punta Arenas on April 8. The weather was j fine and clear and the sea smooth. Ihe land was distinctly visible on both Bides, and the Gotopaxi seemed to be m the j middle of the Channel. About 1 1 p.m. the passengers were terrified by hearing a j fearful crash, and on rushing on deck learnt that a large steamer, which afterwards proved to be the German steamer Olympia, bound from Valparaiso to Hamburg, had crashed into the Cotopaxi on the starboard side below the water line. The boats were instantly got out and the passengers all prepared to get into them. There was not the least excitement, owing to the coolness of the captain and officers. The water was running into the ship very fast, and Captain Hayes deoided that the only thing whioh could be done to save the ship was to run her ashore, By midnight the vessel was safely beached, and all danger was considered over. Captain Hayes sent away three lifeboats to render assistance to the Olympia, and they returned m an hour with the intelligence that the Olympia had her bows stove m, but wbb m no immediate danger of sinking. About 9 a.m. next morning the Olympia oame up, and, having communicated with the Cotopaxi, prooeeded. In the meantime many of the male passengers assisted the crew m working the hand pumps, as the water had risen abore the plates m the engine-room and put out the fires. The chief officer aud the chief engineer by daylight succceeded m effecting a temporary stoppage of the leak, which was four feet below the water line. A 6 team pump being rigged and the ship i lightened by throwing- cargo overboard, at 4 p.m. steam was up, and as Jt was. high water the engines were put full speed astern, and the Cotopaxi floated off safely amid loud cheers for Captain Hayes and the crew. The ship anchored off the beach, aud the oargo was shifted to port to list the ship over, bo thftt the broken plateß might show above the water. The engineers worked at the plates from stages, the weather being bitterly cold, and by the afternoon of the following day the damaged plateß had been sufficiently repaired to allow the ship to resume her voyage. The cargo which had been jettisoned, was recovered. On account of a heavy N.W. gale, Captain Hayes, m order to avoid the heavy seas running, took the northern portion of Smyth's Channel. The ship safely passed on the 15 th April through the English Narrows, which are said to be most difficult to navigate ; and between two and three o'olock the same afternoon, the ship, being m mid-channel, and going full speed, suddenly struck on an unknown rock not marked on the Admiralty chart, the position being m latitude 48deg 44min 8., longitude 74deg 30min W. She must have been ripped clean open as she passed over the rock, for she at once commenced to sink. The boats were got out with all despatch, the women and children placed m them first, then the male passengers and orew. Although only eight minutes elapsed from the time of striking to the time pf foundering, the whole of the passengers and crew, 200 m all, were saved. There were two paralysed passonger? on board, and both were saved by Dr E. D. Alton. The boats made for an inlet two miles to the westward, where all landed m safety. 'fhe boats were hauled up and turned bottom up, th sails being utilised as tents to shelter the women and children, whose position was moßt deplorable, as the weather was icy cold, and they had saved nothing but what they stood upright m. Two days and two nights were spent on this waste, and then— 'Captain Hayes having found a more comfortable place on the other side of the ohannel, four miles distant—the camp was broken up and the party taken saioly across. The following morning tho German stoamcr Botos,of theKosmos line, bound from Valparaiso to Hamburg, hove m sight, and took the passengers and crew on bqard.

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18890724.2.8

Bibliographic details

THE LOSS OF THE COTOPAXI, Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2181, 24 July 1889

Word Count
732

THE LOSS OF THE COTOPAXI Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2181, 24 July 1889

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