Shelter Cove, CA Steamer COLUMBIA Sinking, Jul 1907

Steamer Columbia


Steamer Columbia Sunk Off Eureka, Cal., by Lumber Schooner.

Engulfed in Ten Minutes, Carrying With Her Many of Her Passengers and Crew.

Eureka, Cal. -- Fifty persons, the majority of which were passengers, went down with the coasting steamship Columbia when the vessel was rammed by the lumber steamer San Pedro, in Shelter Cove, off this port. There were 189 passengers and sixty officers and men aboard the ship, and 107 passengers and thirty-seven members of the crew were landed here by the steamship George E. Elder, which also towed in the San Pedro, almost a total wreck, and with her after-deck awash. Only the lumber cargo of the San Pedro kept her afloat.

It was reported that there were forty-six survivors in a vessel headed for San Francisco. One report is that these persons were picked up from lifeboats, but this is looked upon as improbable, as the captain of the San Pedro reports four lifeboats launched from the Columbia were overloaded and swamped. Captain DORAN, of the Columbia, went down with his ship.

Almost all of the Columbia's passengers and many of her crew were asleep in their cabins and bunks. Captain DORAN, it is said, shouted for the San Pedro to hold her how in the cut in the Columbia to prevent, an overpowering inrush of water. But as quickly as possible the San Pedro was backed away and the water rushed through a gap ten feet across. DORAN was on the bridge and he was master of himself until his ship sand under him. It is said that he attempted to hold the crew to duty by threatening to use a revolver, and on report has it that he shot a mutinous sailor. Men on the San Pedro heard DORAN giving orders almost to the last moment. His voice carried distinctly if through a megaphone, and he could be heard saying:
"The women and children must go first. You cowards, give the women and children a chance."

But his cool bravery was in vain for DORAN was forced to see the four lifeboats overturned by the weight of men caring only for their own chance of life. It is understood that the life rafts were overturned in exactly the same way. One life raft was thrown overboard from the San Pedro, and about a dozen passengers managed to reach it. The women saved were picked up by dories from the San Pedro.

The Cranbury Press New Jersey 1907-07-26

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