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A Brave Sailor.

THE RESCUE OF THE DANMARK’S

PASSENGERS,

Captain Murrell’s story of the Missouri’s rescue of the Danmark’s passengers and crew was told to the ‘Tribune’ reporter with extreme modesty. “ We loft London,” he said, “ on March 23, bound for our first trip to Philadelphia, with a general cargo. The weather was bad from the very start, heavy gales blowing from the west. On April 5, at 1.20 p.m., with a strong westerly gale blowing and a heavy sea running, we sighted a vessel flying signals of distress. We bore down to her and hailed her, discovering that she was the Danmark of Christiansand. Her captain told me that the tail end of his shaft was broken and that she was leaking. He wished me to take off his passengers and carry them on to New Y T ork, but owing to the state of the weather I knew it would be impossible to transfer them. I told him, however, that I would take the vessel in tow and tow her to the nearest port. Her captain agreed, and at 3.20 in the afternoon wo took his lino aboard. We then went ahead slowly, turning the vessel around to the S.W., and headed for cat. John (Newfoundland). At that time we were in latitude 40deg 16min N.; longitude 38deg 35min W. The gale rapidly increased in violence, and the sea ran mountains high, as they say in the newspapers. FEARS THAT THE HAWSER WOULD TART. “As a matter of fact the waves pounded on our decks with terrible force, and we feared every moment that the hawser between the Missouri and tho Danmark would part, leaving the latter at the mercy of the waves. Fortunately the line held, although during the entire night the strain was something terrible. Toward morning the gale had increased to such an extent that we were unable to make any headway to the westward, and as there was a great deal of ice to tho windward, I decided to steer for St. Michael, in the Azores, a distance of 730 miles. I signalled my intention to the Danmark, and her captain agreed to my proposal. At 6.30 a.m. we had squared awsy for St. Michael. the danmark’s captain forced to ABANDON HER. “ At seven o’clock the Danmark signalled to us ; ‘ Wo are leaking considerably ; there are now 3ft of water in the aft bold, and it t is gaining rapidly.’ , “ I asked what she wanted mo to do, and the reply came : ‘ Keep on towing.’ “ A little over an hour later tho captain of the Danmark signalled : ‘ The Danmark is sinking; we must abandon the ship. Will you take my passengers ? ’ “I replied: ‘I will,’ and at once cut away the hawser. We dropped down abreast of tho Danmark, and her chief officer, Mr Glen, came offin one of his ship’s boats and boarded us. He told me that his ship was leaking badly, and that it bad been found impossible to repair the damage. There was no hope of saving the ship, he said, and it had been decided to abandon her, as she was liable to go down by tho stern at almost any time, Mr Glen then returned to the Danmark. TRANSFERRING THE PASSENGERS IN HEAVY SEAS. ‘ ‘ At half-past nine I sent off our two boats in charge of the first and second officers, Forsyth and Lucas. The Danmark launched her seven boats at the same time, and the work of transferring began. Tho sea was running very high, and the wind was blowing a strong gale from tho north-west. Every moment was fraught witii danger to the passengers and crews in the small boats, and it required the utmost skill to embark and disembark the women and children without accident. Meanwhile, tho Danmark kept drifting away, and the work of the crews in the boats became harder as the distance between the two ships increased. Tho heavy seas and high winds continued all day; but in just five and a half hours from the time wo began, we took on board the last boat load from the abandoned ship. NOT A PERSON EVEN INJURED, “ At three o’clock in the afternoon, while the officers of the Danmark were still on her decks, I signalled to them to hurry up and come aboard. At that hour the barometer was falling rapidly, the weather was becoming dirtier and thicker every moment. It was evident that it would soon be impossible for a small boat to live in the fearful sea that was running, and which was becoming more terrible every moment. Finally we got everybody aboard, Captain Knudsen being the last to leave his ship. Not one person was even injured. I then found that we had on board, in addition to our own crew of forty - five men and four passengers, 669 cabin and steerage passengers and sixty-nine officers and crew of tho ill-fated steamer. After we had taken everybody from the Danmark we pulled the plugs out of the bottoms of that vessel’s boats which wo had used, and left them to sink to the bottom of tho Atlantic, and I can’t understand how our sister ship, tho Minnesota, picked up one of these boats six days later. THE DANMARK SINKING RAPIDLY OUT OF SIGHT, "Oar last view of the Danmark showed that vessel to bo rapidly going down, her stern being almost even with tho sea. When we abandoned the Danmark wo were in latitude 46deg Ifimin N., longitude 39deg W. When wo got ail the Denmark’s people on board we had no accommodation for them. The Missouri, as you know, is a freight steamer, and is not provided with even steerage accommodation for passengers. Our decks were covered with Norwegians and Danes, and there wasn’t room enough left lor the crew to move about it. The storm increased, and great waves began to sweep aboard. The passengers crouched down in every space affording protection, but they were soon drenched with spray and suffering severely from the cold. I couldn’t stand seeing the poor women crying with cold, and 1 determined to find at least partial shelter for them. Between decks we carried as cargo several hundred bales of rags and wool. This stuff, while very bulky, weighed but little, and I determined to throw it overboard so that tho passengers could have the space between decks. We did this, and had a great many_ of the suffering people housed in comparative comfort before night. THE MISSOURI TURNS ITS PROW TO THE AZORES. “ In the meantime we had headed again for St. Michael, leaving the Danmark to her fate. It was evident that she was going down by the stern, although one could not say just how long she would keep afloat. When we got the people as comfortably fixed as possible I looked around to see what we could get them to oat. I found that we had just three days’ provisions for the whole complement on board. This enough to last us on our run of 720 miles to St. Michael, but not much more than enough. After dark the weather became stormier than ever, and huge seas broke over the ship. By midnight the waves were making a clean bi'each over her, almost smothering

those unlucky passengers for whom there was no room below, and who were obliged to remain on deck under such protection as we could furnish with awnings and sails. It was a bad night altogether, and the ship labored hard. The poor people, huddled together like cattle down below, had a frightful time of it. They were thrown about by the motion of the ship, but they boro their sufferings with remarkable complacency. Everything that could be done for them was done by our officers and crew, all of whom gave up their rooms and berths to the shipwrecked people. For the cabin passengers of tho Danmark places were found in tho Missouri’s cabin, and as many as possible of the women and children among the steerage passengers were made comfortable in the places of our crew. A LITTLE GIRL HORN AND CHRISTENED ON SHIP. “At half-past seven on the morning of April 7 little Mrs Linnie, aged eighteen years, a pretty little Danish woman, who was on her way to New York to join her husband, gave birth to a girl baby. The affair actually thrilled the ship. Mrs Linnie is one of the sweetest little women you ever saw, pretty, rosy cheeks, such as most Norwegian and Swedish girls have, you know, and such soft blue eyes. Well, there, you just ought to see her, but you can’t, you know. The whole ship load of people, uncomfortable as they were, rejoiced at the advent into the world of a creature whose coming was under the moat unfavorable circumstances imaginable. After the mother became in a fair way to recover it was unanimously decided that tho babe should be christened Atlanta Missouri, and the happy mother assented to it heartily. The first officer (Forsyth) gave up his cabin to the young mother, and has actually watched over her and her babe with a father’s tenderness. He won’t allow anybody but tho doctor and the nurses to go near her, and he takes as much interest in her welfare as if she were a child of his own. SAKE AT LAST AT ST. MICHAEL. "At 9.30 on the morning of April 10 we arrived at St. Michael, in the Azores, and cast anchor. We landed 370 of the Danmark’s passengers and crew, including Captain Knudsen. The remainder of the passengers and eight of the crew decided to go on to Philadelphia with us.”

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18890611.2.45

Bibliographic details

A Brave Sailor., Issue 7930, 11 June 1889

Word Count
1,620

A Brave Sailor. Issue 7930, 11 June 1889

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