1934 - SEVEN SAILORS PERISH IN COLLISION OF LINER WITH LIGHTSHIP DURING THICK FOG.
Nantucket, Mass., May 16. - The 43,000-ton liner Olympic, groping its way through a heavy fog, crashed broadside into the Nantucket Lightship Tuesday. Seven of the lightship's crew were either killed outright or were missing. The lightship sank.
Three men found by the Olympic's lifeboats died of their injuries. Four others were missing.
Coast Guard reported those dead as:
W. W. PERRY, Reading, Mass., engineer.
A. MONTELRO, New Bedford, cook.
J. RICHMOND, Boston, oiler.
The missing men were:
I. PINA, cook, New Bedford.
N. S. RODRIGUEZ., sailor, New Bedford.
J. PORTES, sailor, New Bedford.
E. B. GEORGE, sailor, New Bedford.
The rescued men were:
Captain GEORGE W. BRAITHWAITHE, of Cambridge, who suffered severe head injries.
C. E. MOSHER, first officer, New Bedford.
L. U. ROBERTS, oiler, Boston.
J. S. PERRY, radio operator, Provincetown.
Several other members of the crew were on shore leave.
The crash occurred at 10:30 a.m. E.S.T., after the giant White Star liner had sighted the lightship too late to swerve clear of her. Captain W. J. Binks, veteran master of the Olympic, reported that as soon as form of the lightship appeared dimly in the fog, the order for "full speed astern" was given but it served only to lessen the force of the blow.
"Have sunk Nantucket Lightship. Am standing by pick up crew," the captain wirelessed the coast guard immediately after the crash.
Then he sent a communication to the offices of the White Star line in New York.
"Please inform all concerned that have been in collision with Nantucket Lightship and have sunk same. Standing by saving crew."
All night the crew of the lightship, on lonely outpost duty, 42 miles south southeast of the Island of Nantucket, had kept a deck watch, fearful of the fate that ultimately was to be theirs. During the night several steamers passed so near that occupants of the lightship feared for their safety.
Fog warnings were sounded continuously and still blew their ominous warning even as the lightship plunged to the ocean depths.
Aroused by the reversal of the Olympic's engines and the crash that followed, the liner's passengers rushed on deck. Little could be seen in the fog. Two lifeboats and a motorboat were quickly lowered to oil-covered seas.
The survivors were picked up. Captain BRAITHWAITHE bleeding profusely from the head. The victims died on board the Olympic from injuries suffered in the crash.
The Olympic, bound from Cherbourg and Southampton for New York, slashed word of the crash to the coast guard. The cutters Argo and Acushnet and the patrol boat Dix were dispatched to the scene. It was not until several hours after the Olympic had given up the search for the missing men that the coast guard vessels arrived on the scene to take up the search for their bodies.
Another lightship was sent from Boston to take the place of the sunken craft which warned trans-Atlantic vessels of the south shoals.
The lightship was modernly equipped, even to the extent of a radio fog beacon, for use in foggy weather. She was of steel construction with two tall masts, and was commissioned in 1931 at a cost of $200,000.
While Nantucket Shoals have witnessed many maritime accidents, the sinking of the lightship Tuesday, was the most serious on record.
Winnipeg Free Press
May 16, 1934
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