Point Defiance, WA Boat VICTOR II Capsizes, Jan 1916


One small boy and two girls are known to have drowned, several others are believed to have perished and a half a dozen persons were badly injured at 11 o'clock today when the double deck gasoline launch Victor II capsized off Point Defiance pavilion.
The launch which left the municipal dock at 10:30 was making her way toward North Bay in the terrific wind and high seas with a load of passengers and lumber piled on her upper deck when she was suddenly bowled over by a wave, throwing the passengers into the water.
As the launch lay bottom side up in the icy water the passengers clung to her sides until the steamer Atalanta, which was half a mile away was plowing her way from Gig Harbor toward Tacoma, came to the rescue.
The known dead:
WALTER BOWER, age 7, son of Mrs. O. S. Bower, Fox Island.
FLORENCE BOWER, age 14, daughter of Mrs. O.S. Bower, Fox Island.
An unknown girl about 12 years old.
Seriously injured:
WILLIAM CLARK, Seattle, cut about the body and suffering from exposure.
WILL McINNIS, lumber worker, Vashon Island; may die.
P. O'DONNELL, Vashon; cut and bruised, suffering from exposure.
PETER SANDBERG, 406 North Tacoma Avenue, Tacoma, in a raving condition, suffering from exposure.
MRS. O. S. BOWER, Fox Island; hysterical.
HELEN BOWER, her 17-year old daughter.
JOEL BOWER, 18, another son of Mrs. Bower, was rescued, but did not suffer serious injury.
It was impossible to tell the exact number of passengers aboard as the fares had not yet been taken up, nor was it possible to determine the exact number of persons drowned.
The wave which bowled the Victor II over hit the launch so suddenly and with such force that there was no opportunity for a warning to be given or for the lowering of lifeboats, according to the survivors who were brought in on the Atalanta.
"A terrific sea was running, and we don't exactly know how it happened," said DICK WAYSON, captain of the launch. "The boat was unable to ride the waves and buck the gale."
In her effort to save the passengers the Atalanta was washed from stem to stern by the waves and buffeted about in the high wind.
The accident occurred just as the launch was rounding the Point on her way down the sound. As soon as he saw the vessels plight, Capt. A. R. Hunt of the Atalanta put on full steam and hurried to the rescue.
Opposite the smelter heavy waves began rolling across the bay, driven by a terrific northeast gale that swept down the east passage.
As the small craft proceeded, the waves increased in size until they were as high as 10 feet. The boat bobbed about like a cork. Her captain steered a course diagonally across towards Vashon Island, thus taking the waves partially head-on, and hoping to gain the lee of the island.
The little boat floundered about helplessly in the trough of the waves. Finally her engines were disabled by water shipped aboard, and she drifted crazily about in the huge waves. Passengers confined to the cabins which had been tightly closed because of the chilling cold now were panic-stricken.
The Atalanta circled around the overturned boat and at last succeeded in picking up the survivors clinging to its sides.
Capt. Wayson and the two members of the crew who were saved are suffering from exposure and it was with difficulty that they were able to give an account of the accident.

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