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DEATH IN THE GEYSER, Evening Star, Issue 11979, 31 August 1903
DEATH IN THE GEYSER
WAIMANGU ULA3MS FOUR VICTIMS. . 'L— . GDIPE WARBRICK LOSES A BROTHER ' THREE EUROPEANS ALSO KILLED. A TERRIFIC EXPLOSION.' AUCKLAND,;'August 31. A shocking catastrophe is reported from Rotorna.. An unusually severe eruption occurred at Waimangu geyser yesterday afternoon, resulting in the death of the j Hisses Nicholla (of North Canterbury) and Messrs M'Nanghton (Ponsonby) and Joe Warbrick (brother of the well-known guide). They wore looking at an eruption near the shed standing on a lull overlooking Lie geyser. They went too near in their desire to take snapshots. The eruption took the form of a tidal wave, becoming suddenly terrific, and the four people named were swept off riie hill by the force of the water into the overflow of the geyser, where there is a depth of 12ft. They were carried down in the boiling water nearly a mile towards Lake Rotmnahana, the bodies being recovered some time after. A considerable portion of the clothing was tom off, AN BYE-WITNESS’S ACCOUNT. The following is the description of an eyewitness of Waimangu in action- It gives some indication of the awe-inspiring character of these eruptions:—« When I got on the hill looking right down into the muddy basin it locked as though Waimangu had shut up shop for the day. But without a moment’s warning I heard a crash and a roar, and springing to my feet I beheld the geyser’in full play. As I watched tons of mud and huge stones were flung into the air, and I saw QU every ride distinct marks of what the underground forces had done at the rime of the Taraweia eruption. .1 felt that anything might happen. I experienced a feeling of relief when the outburst was over and all bad subsided- Huge clouds of steam gradually separated themselves from the earth and took their place in the heavens, like one of the ordinary fleecy clouds. It was an awe-inspiring spectacle.” ANOTHER SPECTATOR’S ACCOUNT. ALP WARBRICK’iTWARNINGS UNHEEDED. W. H, Constant, who was another eyewitness of the disaster, says:—“No blame ia attachable in any way to the guide Warbrick, who, prior to the eruption, begged his brother, the young ladies, and MNaughton te come away from rite position they were in, aa.be considered it dangerous. To bis brother he remarked: ‘lf an accident happens yon know we’ll all get the sack;’ He also asked Mm Nichoils to tell her daughters that they were in a dangerous position, and to urge them to come back.' Mrs Nicholls, 'calling her daughters by name, requested them to come away, and one of them replied ‘Just a moment, mother.* At that instant the geyser went up. When the discharge had subsided it was found that the four were missing. Mrs Nicholls and Alf Warbriok (the guide) were on top of tie lull near the and the victims of the disaster were op the brow of the hill overlooking the overflow from Waimangu. Fortunately, I bad left the party a minute or two before the accident, and bad taken a seat on the brow of the bill in front of the shelter-shed, but near to the new accommodation-house A search was at opoe made for the bodies of the victims, That of M‘Naugbton was found first, and the others lower down the stream, AD were considerably knocked about.” Mrs Nicholls is natnraDy almost distracted at the loss of her two girls, whose ages were twenty and about nineteen respectively. It is but a few months since she lost per husband. THE VICTIMS. Mr David M’Nanghton was married, aged thirty years, and manager of a butcher’s shop at Arch HiU, near Auckland. He was a personal friend of the Warbrieks, and was to have returned to Auckland earlier, but wrote that he intended to stay over Sunday to see Waimangu play. He leaves no children. The youngest sister of the Misses Nicholls left for Rotorua by train this morning.
HOW THE NEWS WAS RECEIVED. ROTORUA, August 50. The news of the disaster was brought here at hall-past six p.m. It appears that thirty-two passengers left on what is known as the round trip in the morning. One section of the party saw Waimangu then in eruption, but the geyser wily played about 200 ft high. The other party went by way of W&iroa across the lakes, and were late in reaching the geyser. Among them were the two Misses Niehollg, Mr J. MNaughtan, and Mr Joe Warwick. At half-past-three hf the afternoon, while this party were near the shelter died on Hie mil, a terrific eruption took places It was seen in Rotorua, There seemed to be three shots in quick succession. One went straight up, the others in a spreading directum. A PLAUSIBLE THEORY.
AUCKLAND, August 31. GrCat prominence has lately been given to Waimaogu Geyser by the feat of Alf Warbrick (file Government guide) and H. E. Buckeridge (late mate of the yacht Tilikum) iu crossing its surface in a boat. Buckeridge states that he is inclined to believe that yesterday's disaster was occasioned by a tremendous in rush of air towards the centre of the pool on subsidence following upheaval. On several occasions recently when standing on the bank of the geyser he felt the pressure of this inrush immediately after an eruption, the force being ao great as to make it difficult to stand against it. Even in the case of an eruption of ordinary dimensions the force of the drawback of air following such a terrific upheaval as that which took place yesterday is something which can be better imagined than described. It is mors than probable that the victims were drawn into a seething cauldron. When Warbrick ami Buckeridge crossed the geyser in Sjboafc they took soundings and the temperature at different spots. They spent twelve minutes on the lake, during which they pnlled right across it, besides going round in circles. The greatest depth they discovered was 48ft of water. The measurements of the geyser were found to be 80yds broad and 134 yds long. Both men were very warm when they had finished their task, owing to the heat of the water and the steam. The line with which the measaremente were taken was almost too hot to handle, mid the sash-weights used in sounding were too warn' to hdd after the! boat had been hauled up the hHI. A CLOSE SHAVE. It m stated that two other mean, who were seriously injured at Waimangu, escaped destruction by dinging to a rock. Their name?, however, are not available here. FURTHER DETAILS. fSgierrf, to THi Sxan.3 • ROTORUA, August 5L The victims appear to have neglected Guide Warbrick’s ’warning that they were at a danger spot. The mother of the two girls called qn them -to withdraw to a farther distance, and one el them answered; “lh a minute, when I have got this snapshot.” Immediately the third of the' three .great outbreaks exploded, at an angle that covered the four who were killed. The descending mass of water, stones, and mud immediately obscured the party from the view* of the onlookers on the more removed ground, and then the weight of the descending waters carried the bodies of the four into the gulch Hurt carries the overflow of the gey? ser. into Late ftotomahana, guide War, brick immediately realised the and with others made down the stream to endeavor to recover the bodies. This war a work of a most arduous -kind. The body of one of (he victims wasrpeoyerod is an atmegt mitotognisable tondfttoP’about a mite iad a-hoif from the gcene of ' toe disaster It' asaetta that the dadre fo
obtain snapshots of the geyser whSs ii eruption largely contributed to the fatdity. The catastrophe occurred at ahaqt ; pm-, and the last o| the bodies wis recpvered at six o’clock. . A special messenger arrived at Rptprua ■with the tidings at about sevmr o’elqcfc, having beep sent by Guide Warbnck for conveyances. Guide Warbrick, I ant told, has ire*; queptly predicted some fatality, as, yi& tors commonly disregarded his warnings sod occasionally resented bis interference. Ri ha* said before that the only wpyto vent pn accident was that he should be ip* vested with authority to control the pwvet xnents of viators. The Government had erect« 4 guide posts on the bopndary of the danger area, apd those killed were at a conridwable distanoe within the danger space, bring withipabopt fifty yards of the water ip the geyser. My informant states that he kept vrith* put* the danger limit. in acoordance witb GiudeWarbricb’s warning, which than killed evidently Heard, for one of the*; responded H Wait a minute.” It is believed by those present that Joe Warbrick might nave escaped, hot that he tamed bock to try to assist the women. The road near the overflow of' the’ geyser, which was . covered by the downfall within thirty yards of the place of the fatalities, had just previously been passed by the remainder of the partyj nmnnering about twelve. Had they been caught aI! would have perished. . It is dear that a new roadmpatbe made at a greater distance^ AUCKLAND, August 3L Mrs Nicholls and her. three daughters came here mi a visit limn Qhristchnrch abont three mopths ago. After staying some rime at Rotorua they went op a hin to the South Pacific Islands, and op their return remained at Auckland riblaat Wed* nosday, when Mrs Nicholls and her two eldest daughters left for another visit to Rotorua. Mrs Nicholla is the widow of the late Mr Nicholls, who owned a sheep run in North Canterbury, known aa White Rock Station. He died twelve mnntftago, Sli .. .■ Our Christchurch special wires that the Misdes Nicholls were daughters o I the late Mr Nicholls, owner of the White Rook Sta* tion, Canterbury. Mrs Nicholla is the daughter of the late Mr JohnM'Fariane, of Codstream Station, Rangiora, and' sister of several well-known Amuri squatters.
DEATH IN THE GEYSER, Evening Star, Issue 11979, 31 August 1903
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