Thursday January 6, 1910 - Front page
For more than Thirty-Six hours a Search Has Been Made, But So Far No Tidings Have Come of Eight Boats Manned by the Breadwinners in Two Fishing Villages of Nova Scotia, and Widows and Children Wait With Almost Hopeless Hearts.
The Morning Broke
As Breadwinners to
Suddenly North Wind
When Storm Raged
Eight are Missing, Four
It Seems Impossible
A Searching Fleet at
Search will Continue
A sudden blizzard that swept down from the north Tuesday morning carried out to sea twenty fishing boats belonging to Canso, Whitehead and Dover, and after thirty hours' search , eight boats with between forty and fifty men are missing. Hope that any of these men are now alive has been almost wholly abandoned.
During all this time the thermometer has been round zero and Tuesday night the poor fellows out in open boats on the icy sea had to endure the rigors of a temperature from six to eight degrees below zero.
THE SUDDEN ONSET OF THE BLIZZARD WITH DEATH IN ITS WINGS.
The Blizzard was fearful in its severity and fierceness. Rough and rugged as are the hardy fishermen who had to face it not one of them still on the sea could long survive it, and death would soon become welcome. A fleet of government and other steamships has been searching day and night. Late last night eight boats manned by forty or fifty men were not accounted for. Four of these boats belonged to the village of Whitehead, their crews numbering twenty men, and four are from Dover, with fifteen men. The stricken villagers are in despair. Wives and children hardly dare hope ever again to see their husbands and fathers.
The weather yesterday was almost as terrible to men exposed to it as was the night before. Driven before a heavy northwesterly wind was thick snow, which made their work more difficult and increased the terrible plight of its victims if they still lived.
THE DAY OPENED WITH WEATHER THAT WAS FAIR.
Tuesday morning opened with fair weather and a fleet of twenty-five boats manned by one hundred men put out for haddock. Suddenly it changed, and so swiftly that it was next to impossible for all to get back in the teeth of the gale. Of the twenty-five boats all but eight were able to beat their way back, find refuge in other ports or hold out till picked up yesterday. But eight of them are gone and more than forty men are almost certainly frozen to death in drifting boats or drowned from crafts capsized or foundered. Not only on the sea but along the coast the unavailing search has been continued and anxious watchers in the stricken homes are driven to conclude that the breadwinners have gone down with the boats or perished from exposure.
THE FIRST REQUEST FOR HELP IN THE SEARCH
Early Tuesday night Captain John S. Wells wired Mayor Whitman of Canso that several boats were missing from Whitehead and asked that some assistance be sent in search of them. The steamers Inverness, Olive and Thirty-three were sent out as soon as weather permitted, but returned with no hopeful tidings. A fuller investigation revealed that there were more of the Whitehead boats missing than was first thought and Captain Wells again sent a message, saying: "Twelve missing and those arriving have small hope of their fellows." Gradually the number was cut down until the grim fact stared at the Whitehead watchers, hoping against hope, that there were still four boats with their crews missing. In the course of the afternoon number thirty-three reported speaking Matthew Munro, one of the missing boats, and with him the crew of Angus Feltmate's boat, which became unmanageable and had to be abandoned. Early in the day Mayor Whitman advised the marine department at Halifax, requesting that some of their steamers be sent out in search of the missing men, whose boats possibly weathered the gale, and immediately came the reply that they were sending out all the craft that could be secured.
THE CANSO BOATS CAME LIMPING BACK IN DISTRESS.
Before darkness shut down Tuesday night the last Canso boats out were seen approaching the harbor with sails reefed to the smallest sizes. Some with sails so badly torn as to be scarcely workable, but all were safely moored at the docks by dark. As soon as it was found that the Canso boats were safe enquiries were made for the safety of those from Dover and Whitehead. There are many sheltered coves and islands in the vicinity of Dover and it was hoped their boats were able to make one of these, and this hope allayed somewhat the fear of the anxious ones. When morning broke the storm was still raging, but it was thought that some of the crews would reach the village with some word of hope, but hour after hour went by in vain and no tidings came.
Joseph Hanlan's Canso boat, one of the smallest, narrowly escaped foundering. Shipping a heavy sea, which brought the water up in the hold over the ballast, their dory, with all their fish and fishing gear, had to be cut away in their endeavor to save themselves.
THE DOUBLE AFFLICTION OF TWO STRICKEN DOVER HOMES.
Two of the Dover homes, those of Daniel Munro and William Fougere, were already mourning the loss of two sons drowned from a Lunenburg vessel early this season; now the father, Daniel Munro, and a son Norman Fougere, have been taken away.
Rev. Father McKeough, of Dover, has been with his parishioners all day, trying to comfort and cheer as best he can, under fearful anxiety. It is fear-
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THE HALIFAX HERALD - page 2
Fishermen of Dover and Whitehead,
THE CANSO BOATS ALL GOT BACK SAFELY TO PORT.
So quickly did the storm develop that some of the Canso boats which escaped failed to get their gear and others left their anchors and buoys in their hurry to make the land before the blinding snow and increasing wind made it impossible to reach harbor. Only by the best possible handling of their ice-encumbered boats, well-nigh unmanageable in the weight and stiffness of their tackling, were all the Canso boats able to reach safety. The losses were sustained by the Dover and Whitehead craft. It was those boats that did not return. They had a worse chance for the Canso boats had a more sheltered course.
TIRED AND SORROW STRICKEN
WATCHERS WAIT IN VAIN
At nine o'clock last night the storm had abated but the tired and heartsore watchers have looked in vain for the return of fathers, brothers, husbands and sons who left their homes Tuesday morning with high hopes of bringing in a good catch of fish that would help provide for their families through the winter months. Many of them, especially those belonging to the village of Dover, sorely needed what the loved bread winners strove so hard to provide. The awful consequences to the village of Dover may be imagined from the fact that there are about three or four hundred inhabitants all told, and twenty-three of them, mostly all heads of families with all their boats and fishing appliances are gone. No disaster since the great August gale of 1873 has anywhere approached this appalling catastrophe in the history of fishing in the Canso district. The names of the fishermen missing from Dover, the Dover boats missing and their crews, are as follows.
THE BOAT LOTTIE B. Captain Charles Richards, Felix Gurney, Robert Munro, John Horn and Levi Haines.
THE BOAT MILO Captain William Rhynold, Fred Gurney, William Horn, John Walsh, Remi Boudro, Harry Casey and Samuel Mason.
BOAT TRILBY - Captain John Boudro, Abner Boudro, Daniel Munro, George Munro, George Harnish, William Haines and Charles Bushey.
THE BOAT HAZEL MAUD - James A. Rhynold, captain John Rhynold and Norman Fougere.
THE WHITEHEAD FISHERMEN WHO ARE ON THE SEA.
The missing Whitehead fishermen are:
These were some of the bravest and best of Whitehead's citizens and many of them heads of families.
THE SEARCH KEPT UP ALL DAY WITHOUT AVAIL.
The search began Tuesday and has been kept up continuously ever since. The Dominion government was asked for help and promptly ordered out the steamer Cabot, which was lying in Isaac's Harbor. The Douglas H. Thomas was sent from Sydney, and the steam trawlers number Thirty-Three and Inverness joined in the search. The government steamer Aberdeen was intercepted at Beaver harbour and ordered to the fishing grounds and the Wobun, that sailed from North Sydney last evening for Portland, Me.was directed to keep a sharp lookout. All their efforts so far have been vain, except that the steam trawler found the boat Cora Lee badly iced and took it in tow. Tuesday night the trawler rescued Captain Angus Feltmate's boat and crew. Otherwise the searching fleet has been able to do nothing and Whitehead is mourning the loss of nineteen men, the death roll at Dover standing at twenty-two. Forty-one men were missing late last night.
THE FIRST NEWS OF THE DISASTER TO THE FISHERMEN.
The news of the disaster first came to the Halifax Herald yesterday forenoon in a telephone message from A. Boutilier, of the Halifax Cold Storage company, who said that he had just received a telegram from the firm's buyer at Whitehead, containing the startling information that seventeen fishing boats, with crews aggregating seventy-six men were missing. It was believed at Whitehead that all the boats were adrift, and Mr. Boutilier was asked to get assistance from the Marine and Fisheries department here.
Immediately on the receipt of the telegram, Mr. Boutilier got in communication with Agent C. H. Harvey of the Marine and Fisheries department, and that department at once got busy.
THE MARINE DEPARTMENT BEGINS THE WORK OF SEARCH.
The first move of the department was to endeavor to get in touch with the government steamer Aberdeen, due yesterday at Port Felix. She left here a short time ago to perform lighthouse and buoy work. Up to one o'clock she had not been located, owing to the fact that she is not equipped with a wireless apparatus.
The department ordered the government steamer "33" in port at Canso, to proceed at once to the fishing grounds in search of the missing boats. The steamer Inverness, from the same port, was also dispatched to the scene by the agent of the department. Both left at an early hour and had practically the whole day to search for the missing fishermen.
ALL THE SHIPPING AVAILABLE IMPRESSED INTO THE SERVICE.
Agent Harvey got the wires along the shore in use and all the shipping available was impressed into the service of the government. The collier Cabot, at Goldboro, with coal was one of the steamers which the department engaged. The Dominion Coal company's tow boat at Sydney was also telegraphed for.
The repairs to the Lady Laurier were incomplete and the Canada was not ready at sufficiently short notice to make her available for the task. It is ninety miles to Whitehead, and this would leave little daylight in which to search on her arrival had she been sent during the afternoon.
PARTICULARS OF THE DISASTER LATE IN COMING.
Particulars of the disaster were not available till afternoon. From advices received it appeared that the haddock fleet left for the fishing grounds Tuesday morning before daylight, the crew expecting to return as usual at nightfall. Fishing is good off Whitehead, and about twenty-five boats from Whitehead and neighbouring fishing villages were on the fishing grounds at noon.
The boats appeared to have had good luck in fishing up to the middle of the day. It was bitterly cold and trawling was carried on under great difficulties, but the hope of good catches was the lure which kept the fishermen from making harbor when the conditions became unfavorable.
FIVE OF THE BOATS GOT SAFELY INTO PORT.
Through the afternoon a number of the fishemen became alarmed and put back into port. Five of the Whitehead boats got safely into port and three others managed to get into the shore, their crews being heard from yesterday. This left seventeen still unaccounted for. A few of the remaining boats managed to get in and from them the story of the disaster was learned.
THE STORM DESCENDED WITH LITTLE WARNING.
With very little warning a heavy snow storm set in shutting out the land from view. With the snow came a fierce gale and soon a perfect blizzard was raging. The south-easter made it impossible for any boat to make any progress towards land.
On the other hand, with the water lashed into a fury of towering waves, the only recourse for the occupants of the boats was to lay to while the furious wind swept their frail boats farther and farther out to sea. All the boats were in the same predicament, and none were in very good circumstances for rendering assistance to sister crafts.
AWFUL TERRORS OF STORM AT SEA WITH MERCURY BELOW ZERO.
With very little food on board most of the boats and exposed in twenty feet open crafts to the terrors of a zero storm-driven atmosphere, and with icy waters thrown over their unprotected bodies, the condition of the occupants of the boats was most terrible. Still while there is life there is hope, and efforts will not be relaxed till it is realized that further endeavor would be futile.
NORTH WESTERLY GALE WITH SNOW MAKES MATTERS WORSE.
Yesterday a heavy north-northwest gale prevailed on the fishing grounds. Thick snow was settling over the scene, blotting out the view and impeding the searchers. Along with this is a vapor which lies over the surface of the ocean, still more impenetrable than fog or snow.
REPORTS ONE BOAT ASHORE ON DOGFISH ROCK
One of the boats which arrived at Whitehead yesterday reports having seen another boat ashore on the Dogfish Rock at the eastern entrance of the harbor. Evidently she had almost succeeded in reaching the desired haven in safety when the combined heavy wind and sea carried her onto the treacherous rock. It would be almost impossible for human beings to live through such a storm without protection, and the bare rock on which the boat was thrown upon gave little protection from the angry elements. The crew of the William Feltmate, the boat lost on Dogfish Rock, were picked up by Captain John George, while they were drifting to sea in their dory. They had a very narrow escape, all being badly frost bitten.
PROSPECTS FOR ITS SAFETY ALL TOO SLIM.
Still another boat was reported and, as in the case of the previously mentioned fishing boat, the prospects for it ultimate safety are slim indeed. This boat contained seven men from Port Felix, but the hardy fishermen from the "Port of Happiness" were in a sad plight. The sails of their little boat were torn and with the increasing force of the elements it is probable they were reduced to tatters shortly after their comrades saw them. Those in the saved boat and others in a position to be capable judges, feel that the chances of escape are very meager.