Erie, PA Steamer GERKIN Sinking, Aug 1926


Steamer Sinks In Lake Erie

Four Men Missing-Other Members of the Crew are Rescued by Ferry-Rescued Men Spent Over An Hour in Life Boats Before They Were Picked Up.

Cleveland, Ohio, Aug. 21 (AP)-The steamer Harold S. Gerken, battered by gigantic waves which were whipped into furry by a fifty-mile an hour gale, sank in Lake Erie eight miles out of Erie, Pa., today.

Two life boats containing sixteen members of the crew of the steamer, were picked up by the car-ferry Maitland of Ashtabula. Another boat, in which four men put off from the sinking steamer, has not been found.

Names of Missing Men.

The men aboard the missing life-boat are George McMinn, mate; Richard Freeman, watchman; Herman Wageman, fireman, and William Logan, derrick engineer.

It is feared these four men may have been washed out of the little craft.

Report of the singing of the Gerken, a freighter listed out of Buffalo, N.Y., and the rescue of the sixteen men was received here by the Inter-city Radio Telegraph Company in a radio dispatch from the Maitland.

Captain Describes Sinking.

The sinking of the steamer was described by J.B. Gamble, captain of the boat. His steamer, he said, was bound for Buffalo. While it was being pounded by the heavy sea, it sprang a leak.

Water rushed into the hold of the boat very rapidly and it was only a matter of a few minutes before the ship sank. The three lifeboats battled the large waves for more than an hour until the Maitland, bound for Canada, crossed their course and was attracted by the distress flares shot from the boats.

Hunt for Missing Boat.

Captain Heyman, of the Maitland, put his car-ferry about and picked up two of the lifeboats. The third could not be seen. Captain Heyman, it was announced in a message from the radio operator of the Maitland, stood by until daylight and then started a search for the missing boat.

Kingston Daily Freeman, Kingston, NY 20 Aug 1926