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WRECK OF THE STEAMER HONG-KONG.

A correspondent ol the " Times of India " writes from Adeu on March 3rd:—'• You have probably ere this learnt by wire of the total loss of the s.s. HongKong, ,1221 tons register. Captain W. G. Cunley, owned by Messrs Watts. Milburn and Co, of London. This fine \essel sailed from London, bound for China, on the 23rd January last, with a general cargo and seven passengers. Nothing unusual occurred on the voyage until on the morning of the 23rd ultimo, when, at about 5 am. she struck upon a sunken reef four or" five miles off the Islaud of A bdel-Kon, in the Bed Sea. Immediately after she 6truck, the commander ordered soundings to be taken, and finding that she had nearly 15ft of water in her hold, he saw no hope of saving the vessel, and immediately ordered the boats to be lowered. The deck of the steamer soon became a scene of wild confusion, but the captain and officers made every effort to maintain order, and within five minutes the two cutters and the jolly-boat were in the water. Captain Cunley assisted the lady passenfer with her five children into the starboard quarter oat, which was in charge of the chief officer. She had in her Mr Frank Murphy, chief offioer: Mrß Walton, her five children; Edward Pitman, the chief steward; Mr Phelps, third steward; Wm. Phelps, fourth engineer; James Stag, butcher; and Stockington, chief cook. This boat, however, unfortunately got entangled in some of the ship's tackling, and was dragged down with the sinking vessel. Every effort was made to save Mrs Walton and her five children, especially by the captain, who, when picked up, was in a most exhausted condition. Had it not been for the excellent discipline observed during that very short time, it is hard to say how many more would have perished, for it was only between eight and ten minutes after striking that the gurgling waves closed over the ill-fated vessel.

The boats remained at the scene of disaster for about an hour in the hope of picking up some provisions that might float out of the ship. They had nothing in the two cutters but ten gallons of water, which they managed to save. Finding nothing coming up they pulled for the island of Kol-frown in search of birds, eggs, &c. Here they decided to abandon the jolly-boat and make for Aden iv the two cutters. The captain, chief engineer, and Messrs Petterson and Soney (two of the passengers), with seventeen of the crew, got into one cutter, and the second officer, another passenger, Mr Cobding, and seventeen men into the other, aud left the island, agreeing to keep company and steer W.N.W. for Aden, the wind being at the time easterly. As night came on, however, the two boats lost sight of each other. The second mate's boat was more fortunate than the captain's, for on Wednesday atternoon they were sighted by the s.s. Tiara, Captain Bethell, bound from Bombay to London, and were picked up by that steamer, after being three days at sea, with nothing to eat and on a very small allowance of water. They were landed here last Friday morning, and reported the circumstance to Captain Thynne, Master Attendant and Conservator ot the Port, who lost no time in sending the B.M.S.S. Kwan-tung in search of the missing boat. But the search was unnecessary, for the captain's boat sailed in Aden harbour on Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m., with all hands on board. The soldiers of the 41st Regiment who are encamped on the beach were the iirst to catch a glimpse of the tiny bark sailing in with her precious living cargo: and in a very short time the shore was thronged with people eager to greet their fellow creatures, for whom so much anxiety had been felt, and who were saved from so perilous a situation. It was, indeed, pitiful to see the condition of some of the survivors who, quite weak and helpless through starvation, had to be assisted out of the boat and carried ashore.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/CHP18750531.2.5

Bibliographic details

Press, Press, Volume XXIII, Issue 3049, 31 May 1875

Word Count
688

WRECK OF THE STEAMER HONG-KONG. Press, Volume XXIII, Issue 3049, 31 May 1875

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