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The crew of the wrecked Sunderland ntiiy Lauren Braich,, which went ashore off the Chilian coast towards the end of September/ had some thrilling adventures. : The story of the loe<3 of this vessel and the subsequent experience of those on board reads like a romance. The Laurel Branch l&ft Coronel, Chili, on August 23, bound for Sunderland, having t« call en route^at Funta Arenas. At two o'clock in the morning on the 28th of that month, during the prevalence of a mist, the steamer struck on a part of the Pacific coast about forty mile* north of Tres Montes. There way a heavy sea on at the time, and the operation of ' landing was an arduous one. Several journeys were made, the last porcon to quit' the stranded vessel being Captain Lee. Every, man on board was eventually safely landed, but most unfortunately a sad catastrophe occurred on one of tn& journeys to the shore, involving the loss of two children.; The Laurel Branch had on board four girln, daughters of Mr Alexander Maclaren, chief purser to the Nautilus Company.' These children were being sent to their home at Glasgow. The boat in which the girls were placed capsized in the turbulent surf. Those who manned her succeeded in getting ashore, and also in saving alive Isabella, aged 13, and Alive, aged four, but fhe other \ two sisters (Mary, aged eight, and -Agnes, aged six) were drowned. The spot on which the wreck took plac© is a most out-of-the-way place, quite uninhabited, arid with little chance of any passing vcse*! ever being sighted. It seems almost incredible' that nowadays a shipwrecked crew cduld spend twenty-nine days on a mainland utterly lost to the world, their friends being totally unaware whether they were' alive ot dead, but this if what actually befell the members of the ill-fated Laurel Branch. A 8 soon as all had been got safely ; 'ashore, steps were taken to make their condition as passably comfortable as circuriistancet* would permit. -Fortunately the vessel v which lay partly on sand and partly on & rock, did' not break up, and it was a com--paratively easy tas- to- bring off a- good-sup-ply of provisions and many useful and valuable articles/ -The stores were untouchedby the water. Searching out the most 'suitable spot in the immediate vicinity, tented shelters were fashioned out af canvas arid tarpaulins. The utmost fiolicitude was manifested in the comfort of the two little girls, and they do not seem to have fared very badly, while the officers and men were living under what the cailor regards as comparative luxury. They had plenty to eat and drink, and they all enjoyed tolerably good health throughout their enforced sojourn on this desertful coast, nad their ship been totally wrecked their fate Would have been 'errible to contemplate, for the land furnifihed but little means, if any, for human subsistence. After three attempts a boat manned by some of the survivors reached Port Otway, where it was sighted by the Chilian "transport Casma. The Chilian seamen behaved most gallantly. After picking up the boat at Port Otway, the Casma proceeded to the place where the other ohipwrecked mariners were, and made desperate effortS'to rescue them on llftee" 3is-" tinct occasions — tremendous 1 seas and heavy gales prevailing. Ultimately they succeeded in getting the' men on board the Casma. A very touching scene occurred when the shipwrecked sailoro found themselves on board the Chilian vessel. They embraced Ihe Chilians, and wept and cheered again m transports of ioy. All the crew spoke in the highest terms of Captain Lee's behaviour. ... , ' '

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Bibliographic details

Wanganui Herald, Wanganui Herald, Volume XXXVIII, Issue 11154, 15 January 1904

Word Count

STRANGE ADVENTURE OF SAILORS Wanganui Herald, Volume XXXVIII, Issue 11154, 15 January 1904