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PASSENGERS' THRILLING TALES.

SURVIVORS' WEIRD AND WILD

ACCOUNTS

HEROISM WHEN THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA SANK.

SEATTLE, August 22. With wild and weird accounts of the wreck m Gambier Bay, Alaska, of the steamship State of California, of the Pacific Coast S.S. Co., and heroic rescues of passengers from death, forty members of the crew of the ill-fated vessel reached Seattle at 1.20 o'clock this morning on the steamer Jefferson, of the Alaska Steamship Company. From statements made, the vessel went to the bottom so quickly after striking that no accurate account could be given, as when she struck there was a general scramble for the boats, The -larger number of passengers were at breakfast, and to this- fact most of them owe their lives. Those who were drowned were m their staterooms, and when they reached the deck the vessel Was disappearing beneath the surface. While the vessel was under full speed littlo or no shock was felt. All say that they heard a crushing noise and felt the vessel list. Three boats were launched, but only one rendered service, one was swamped by wreckage, and another fill- ! Ed with water before it got clear of the davits. Captain Cann "is credited by the survivors with heroic work. He remained on the bridge, and when the vessel went down the woodwork came to the surface, and from the floating bridge he gave orders to the three launches that came fj*om the 6annery, telling them where people m the wreckage were, and through hig directions many were saved. After all who could be located m- the wreckage had been taken care of, Capt. Cann sought safety m one of the remaining launches. VESSEL SINKS QUICKLY. So quickly did the State of California sink after she struck the rock that Captain Cann barely had tinae to run her toward the rocky beach of Gambier Bay before she hit the bottom. The wireless operators aboard the State of California did not have a chance to summon aid, but boats from the cannei*y put off from shore and assisted the crew of the wrecked steamer, picking up the people floating among the wreckage. Two gas boats were obtained from the cannery, and one was sent to Petersburg for aid, while the other, headed towards Juneau, meeting the Jefferson, which proceeded to the scene of the wreck and picked up the survivors. "We came through Wrangell Narrows early Sunday morning, and all the passengers were ori deck to watch the ship make the narrow passage," said Captain Cann. "After we had passed the narrows many of the passengers returned to their staterooms and were sound asleep when we docked at the Gambier Cannery and did not get up while we were there. PASSENGERS ASLEEP. "To this I attribute the loss of life, as the sleeping passengers had no opportunity to escape after the steamer struck. "After discharging three tons of freight at the Gambier Bay Cannery, we cleared at 8.30 o'clock and headed for the outside. After reaching the roadstead where the United States chart shows thirty fathoms of water we struck the reef. The vessel did not rear or raise, and this, m my opinion, shows that the rock could not have been more than a few feet above the line of the vessel's keel. I immediately pulled the whistle cord, sending out several blasts to warn the cannery people of our danger, and sang out to the deck crew toi launch the lifeboats.- At the same time I headed the ship &>r the beach. We had just reached the'' rocky beach when the vessel went down bodily. "Every -available boat had been launched by the crew, who responded with perfect discipline to the orders fromrtho bridge. Although most of the boats were partly filled -with' water from the wash made' by the ship as she plunged to the bottom, the crew managed to pick up most .of the passengers who wero struggling m the water.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/PBH19130927.2.121

Bibliographic details

Poverty Bay Herald, Poverty Bay Herald, Volume XL, Issue 13191, 27 September 1913

Word Count
662

PASSENGERS' THRILLING TALES. Poverty Bay Herald, Volume XL, Issue 13191, 27 September 1913

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