Astoria, OR Intercoastal Freighter IOWA Wrecks in Storm, Jan 1936


Freighter Iowa Is Battered to
Pieces Off Mouth of the
Columbia River


Onondaga Fails in Attempt to
Throw Life Line to Hurricane-
Tossed Craft


Three Other Vessels Damaged
in Worst Blow in Years
on the Coast

ASTORIA, Ore., Jan. 12 —Thirty four
men, the intercoastal freighter
Iowa's entire crew, apparently perished
today when a southeast hurricane
dashed the 410-foot vessel
onto treacherous Peacock Spit.
Mariners agreed no human being
could have survived the raging waters
on the shoals north of the Columbia
River entrance, site of the
vessel's grounding.
Captain R. Stanley Patch of the
Coast Guard cutter Onondaga and
A. G. Siniluoto, North Head lighthouse
keeper, said it appeared impossible
any man aboard the States
Line freighter could have lived.
The 3,564-ton vessel, smashed into
wreckage from terrific pounding on
the shoals, was one of several imperiled
as the storm howled off the
Oregon coast.
The steam schooner Siskiyou
came into port with water in her
hold and a gaping hole in her side.

Canadian Vessel Damaged

To the south, the Canadian vessel
Rochelie damaged her steering gear
fifteen miles off Cape Arago, but
made repairs and proceeded southward
after losing part of her deck
Originally, the ship was mistaken
for the Norwegian freighter Romulus.
The merchant ship Lumberman
stood by the Rochelie while repairs
were made.
The freighter Vinland also was reported
to have lost deck cargo in
the same area.
Wreckage from the Iowa littered
the coastline. Out in the pounding
surf watchers could see floating
bodies of men who died in the disaster.
At 6 P. M. five bodies had been
recovered. The raging waters prevented
rescue boats from going
within a mile of the wrecked ship,
one of the ninety-odd vessels which
have piled up on Peacock Spit.
The body of Marion J. Perich, 28,
of Portland, ship's carpenter, was
the first identified.
Captain Edgar L. Yates, 69, veteran
skipper of the States Steamship
Company, was master of the
Iowa, which crossed out of the Columbia
River early today.

Freighter Swept From Course

The southeast gale crashed down
upon the craft and swept her northward
from her course. A frantic
distress call was flashed. Then the
wireless set failed. When dawn
came distress flags could be seen.
Coast Guard cutters and lifeboats
made heroic efforts to reach the
stricken vessel, but the great waves
beat them back. The stack and the
bridge of the Iowa went over the
side and a n hour later all that could
be seen was the foremast and part
of the forecastle. Three men appeared
clinging to the rigging and
then were seen no more.
During the day there were various
reports from Coast Guard and
lighthouse sources that one or two
other vessels had piled up on the
sands. As the day wore on these
reports lost credence.
Just before dusk the storm moderated,
and scores of persons obtained
a glimpse of the shuddering
hulk of the Iowa through the lighthouse
station telescope.
Everything had been swept by
the board save one mast. Lumber,
shingles, canned fish, flour and
cases of matches littered the shoreline
and were eagerly salvaged by
hundreds of spectators.
"The wreck was well in on the
sands of Peacock Spit," Captain
Patch reported of the Iowa.
"A few moments after we first
sighted the wreck, the stack and
bridge went over the side."
Distress Call Received.
Captain Lars Bjelland, commanding
the Point Adams Life Station,
said he believed the Iowa broke in
two soon after she crashed, and
that it will never be known how
or why the wreck occurred.
Captain Bjelland said the first distress
call received by the Fort
Stevens Radio Compass Station was
heard at 5:35 A. M.

Jan. 13, 1936 edition of The New York Times