Whitefish Point, MI (Lake Superior) Ore Carrier SUPERIOR CITY Sinking, Aug 1920
LAKE STEAMER SUNK; 29 OF CREW LOST.
BOILERS BURST, BLOWING THEM INTO SUPERIOR, FOLLOWING COLLISION BETWEEN FREIGHTERS.
WENT DOWN IN 2 MINUTES.
EXPLOSION BLEW SUPERIOR CITY'S STERN OFF WHILE CREW WAS GETTING INTO BOATS.
Special to The New York Times.
Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., Aug. 21. -- With practically no chance to save themselves, twenty-eight men and a woman, members of the crew of the giant ore carrier Superior City, were blown to their death in Lake Superior off Whitefish Point late Friday night when the steamer Willis L. King collided with the Superior City and punched a hole in her side, through which a torrent of water poured down into her furnace room, causing an explosion which virtually blew off the stern.
In less than two minutes after the crash, according to four survivors, the ship heeled, her load of 7,500 tons of ore carrying her quickly to the bottom in about 200 feet of water. The collision occurred four and one-half miles northeast of Whitefish Point. The sea was calm, though the air a trifle hazy, according to survivors.
The survivors are:
Captain EDWARD SAWYER, of Almont, Cal.
LEHUE, Chicago, second mate.
PETER JACOBSON, Cleveland, wheelsman.
WALTER RICHTER, Lorain, Ohio, boatswain.
The King crashed into the Superior City aft of amidships on the port side. All members of the crew of the Superior City were aft over the boiler rooms, scrambling for the lifeboats, when the blast came. Not one of the four survivors knows more than that when he regained consciousness it was in Lake Superior.
All bear evidence of their experience in bruises and burns. Captain SAWYER, with his face and head swathed in bandages to protect his wounds and raw skin, refused to talk.
RICHTER, who was brought to the Soo on the J. J. Turner late last night after being picked up from a hatch cover, says the explosion jerked the ship out from under him as he was attempting to get into a life boat. He had been in his bunk, but had ran aft with his fellows when the alarm was sounded from the vessel's bridge that she was about to be rammed. He had nothing but his underwear on at the time and this was blown from him completely, not a
"The captain's alarm signal rang just two minutes before the crash," said RICHTER. "If we had had two minutes more, no lives would have been lost. The crew kept their heads and all waited calmly for the boats to be launched, but there wasn't time. Several of the boats were torn away while the men were attempting to launch them. The boat I was attempting to launch was thrown overboard, carrying me with it."
JACOBSON was acting as lookout when the collision occurred. He said it was a fairly clear night, witch not enough haze to keep him from clearly seeing the approaching vessel. He reported to the bridge that the King was bearing down upon them, although the customary passing signals had been given.
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