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A CLOSE CALL.

ON HER BEAM END. TEES STRUCK BY TIDAL WAVE. DAMAGE AT THE CHATHAM?.

The Chatham Islands steamer Tees arrived at LyttCiton last night fron. the Islands after a most tempestuous voyage, daring which she had the terrifviuc experience of encountering a tid:»l ware. This occurred last Monday week, the day on which rhe severe southerly weather was experienced in New Zealand. Interviewed last night, Captain Dowell said the weather was freshening wheu the Tees left Lyttelton on Saturday, July 19th. On the following dnv it became worse, and at 4 o'*<lock in the afternoon the ship wtis hove-to for the night. On the Monday conditions improved considerably, and the vessel was once more put on her cocrsc. A Terrifying Experience.

'•'At 9.30 that night we were makinp good progress in a moderate sea," stated Captaiu Dowell. "I had not. turned in, but was lying down on the conch. Suddenly, without the slightest warning a terrific sea hit the vessel on the starboard side, and she laid right over on her beam ends. I was thrown head first into a corner of the stateroom. When I picked myself up everything wa3 in confusion, drawers and fittings littering the floor. Slowly the vessel righted herself. From somewhere below I could hear screams from the passengers, while above it all could be heard the roar of escaping steam, which came up in clouds from the engine-room ventilators and ports. My vord, it was the closest thing I have ever experienced. There is not the slightest doubt thai we had been struck by a tidal wave. "The chief engineer had a very nar row escape. He had been playing cards wilh some of the passengers, and left the saloon for a moment to go to his: cabin. -4s ho crossed the deck he Gaw the enormous wall of water rearing up alongside the steamer, and had just time to get hold of something solid when the wave broke with a crash over the vessel. Fortunately he retained his hold, otherwise he must have gons overboard."

A Cracked Cylinder. Investigation in the engine-rocm revealed that the top of the high-pressure cylinder was cracked right across, due probably to hot water having been poured into the compression chamber when the -vessel heeled over. The engines were, of course, stopped, and the wcrk of effecting repairs was at once put in hand. All night long, while the vessel rolled in the trough of the sea, the engineers, assisted at times by the captain and others, worked on the almost impossible task of trying to repair the cylinder head, with the use, among other things, of wood as packing. Only very low steam could be used, however, and as the gale had again increased on Tuesday the vessel was put before it.

Nursing the Engine. On the Tuesday afternoon, as the weather was getting worse, it was decided to cut out the high-pressure cylinder and run on the low pressure and the intermediate. The engine was again stopped while a metal plato was cv.fc and drilled with which to shut off the steam from the disabled cylinder. Late that night the job was accomplished, and the vessel, which had already been blown a hundred miles north of the Islands, was once more laid on her course, and with the careful nursing of the engine the Islands were reached on the morning of Thursday, July 24th. No repairs could be carried out at tho Islands, and, after calling at various points, the Tees sailed on Tuesday last for Lyttelton. She again had a rough passage, and was hove-to for several hours on Wednesday, in order to put no undue strain on the engine. A landfall was made oft' Kaikoura earl* yesterday morning.

Damage at the Islands. The Tees brought from the Islands the startling news that on the night on which she was disabled the same tidal wuve struck the Islands, and considerable damage was done. At the fishing village at Kaingaroa some of the men were in their huts playing cards, when they heaid a terrible roat from the sea. They rushed outside, and, iinding th" roar coming nearer, ran up the hill into the bush. They were just in time, as the wr.ve demolished their huts, and also did slight damage to the freezing works. , , . , Four of the fishing launches lyuip at their mooring 3 were wrecked. At Pitt Island a surf boat was washed half a mile up a creek and left high and dry, and similar experiences were wet with at Owenga and other ports. Fortunately no one was injured. The tidal wave was during the next two d3}*3 by the heaviest sea for 25 years.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/CHP19240802.2.77

Bibliographic details

A CLOSE CALL., Press, Volume LX, Issue 18141, 2 August 1924

Word Count
784

A CLOSE CALL. Press, Volume LX, Issue 18141, 2 August 1924

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