Cleveland, OH Launch BUTTERFLY Sinking, Sept 1904

“Neither of the Hurtig boys was very familiar with the boat, and neither had much experience in her or any other boat. For some time I owned the Butterfly absolutely. Then I sold the boys a two-third interest in her. We could not exactly agree after that, and so, just the other day I sold them my remaining one-third interest.

“Their actions after they acquired the launch amused me then. They sadden me now, because they had , I feel sure, some share in Saturday night’s tragedy. Both boys were continually tinkering with the engine, a two-horse power gasoline affair. They would take the engine perfectly apart on the slightest provocation. I cautioned them against this practice repeatedly and warned them that it was dangerous to worry a boat’s engine too much. And that is just what brought about their death, in my opinion, for I am convinced that had the engine acted right in the first place, and had they handled the boat correctly in the second place, they would now be safe and sound instead of lying dead.”

“The boat’s engine acted badly when they left Cleveland. The boys had difficulty in getting started. They should have heeded the ominous warning if not the threatening nor’wester. In all probability the boys got as far as Edgewater park and then they began to have serious trouble with the sea. An open boat, fighting a heavy sea with a crippled, balky engine, is a bad combination for anyone to be up against. Add to that the fact that the boat was in the hands of inexpert seamen and you have a fatality such as met the poor Butterfly. A heavy sea might have been shipped, because the boat had no protecting cabin, and this might have stopped the engine. Or, as is more likely, the engine suddenly went back on them and left them at the mercy of the waves. The next scene is the boys struggling ineffectively to keep the craft head on the swells and thus ride out the storm. At last the Butterfly is twisted into the trough of the sea and overgoes (sic). Such is the likeliest hypothesis of the accident.”

The Hurtig brothers had just been given their membership cards in the Cleveland Yacht Club, the evening before both found watery graves.

Plain Dealer, Cleveland, OH 5 Sept 1904


All Day Search Futile.

Life Saving Crew Spent Day Dragging for Victims of the Butterfly Disaster.

The search for the bodies of the four boys who were drowned Saturday night by the overturning of the launch Butterfly was without result yesterday. Four boat loads of men searched the beach and water all along the front of Edgewater park, and far up the shore of the lake to the west. Only the launch’s pennant was found. The broken staff was jammed in the rocks of a jetty at the park. The body of Begley, recovered Sunday morning, is the only one so far recovered.

Before 7 o’clock yesterday morning Capt. Motley and a crew of four men from the life saving station steamed up to the beach and began the second day’s search for the bodies. The life savers manned two small boats and with drag nets went over the lake bottom very carefully. Capt. Motley said that they undoubtedly missed many spots but he would return again this morning and keep at it until successful. Yesterday the crew worked until 5 o’ clock in the afternoon and returned again in the evening for several hours’ work.

Capt. E. Dahlke, an old tug captain of No. 66 Becker avenue, who is a friend of the Trieber family, had to boats of searchers at work all day, but they could find no further trace of the boys.

The captain’s son, Edward H. Dahlke, in a bathing suit also assisted in the search. He found the pennant of the launch in one of the jetties in the afternoon.

Albert Trieber, secretary and treasurer of the Cuyahoga Abstract Co., and uncle of the missing Trieber boy, was also among the searchers and watched at the beach until further work was stopped by the night.

Plain Dealer, Cleveland, OH 6 Sept 1904