Port Townsend, WA Steamship PACIFIC Wreck, Nov 1875 - How the PACIFIC Went Down
THE LOST OCEAN VESSELS.
HOW THE PACIFIC WENT DOWN.
THE QUARTERMASTER'S STATEMENT----HIS ACCOUNT OF THE WRECK AND THE DESPERATE EFFORTS TO ESCAPE---TERRIBLE EXPERIENCE OF PASSENGERS ON THE RAFTS.
SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 11.---A dispatch from Neah Bay, Washington Territory, gives the statement of Neal O'Haley, Quartermaster of the Pacific, rescued by the revenue cutter Oliver Wolcott on the morning of the 7th inst., to the following effect:
About two hundred and fifty people were on board. I went below about 8 P.M. Everything was all right and the lights in place. When the shock occurred I ran on deck. Everything was in confusion. The passengers crowded on the hurricane deck, and many of them fell off into the trough of the sea. I saw a large vessel under sail, which I was told had struck the steamer; I saw the vessel's green light distinctly; the passengers crowded into the boats against orders; the officers got the port boat forward, into which fifteen women and six men were put. The boat was capsized by the rolling of the ship, and I saw none of its occupants afterward. I supported myself with a floating skylight for about fifteen minutes, and then got on a portion of the hurricane deck with some eight others. On looking for the steamer I found she disappeared, leaving behind a floating mass of human beings. The screams for help were fearful to hear, but they soon ceased, and we were left alone on the raft. There were on the raft the Captain, second mate, second cook, myself, and four passengers, including a young lady. At 1 o'clock next morning, the 5th, it blew a gale from the south-east, the sea making a clean breach over the raft, to which we lashed ourselves. About 4 A. M. the sea washed overboard the Captain, second mate, the lady, and another passenger. About 9 o'clock A. M. the second cook died. It cleared up about 4 P.M. I saw land about fifteen miles distant and a piece of the wreck with two or more persons on it. About 5 P.M. another of our party died, and on the morning of the 6th another died leaving me alone. About 4 P.M. a large empty box floated by me. I got on the raft for shelter, and slept soundly for several hours that night. On the morning of the 7th I saw land on both sides; was surrounded with a float of kelp, which made the water smooth. It continued calm all day and night. At 3 o'clock A. M. I was rescued by the cutter.
A later report from Neah credits O'Haley with the statement that the second mate told him, while on the raft, that the chief mate with eight of the crew in a boat got clear of the ship.
The Wolcott has gone cruising along the coast of Vancouver's Island. The Gussie Telfair went south. The Wolcott took Indians and canoes to search the shore for any who may have landed. As the current has been strong from the westward, carrying the bodies recovered far up the straits, it is believed that the two saved are all that will be found alive, except those in the boat with the mate, in case they made shore.
Evidently but little of the stern of the Pacific broke up except the hurricane deck. Nothing has yet been seen of the ship which struck the Pacific. Several vessels from outside have been spoken, none of whom had seen her. O'Haley says the Captain was the last man to leave the ship.