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The Evening Telegram, St. John's, NF, May 23, 1887, page 1

Terrible Disaster

The "Plover" and "Trixie H." in Collision.

Three Men And Two Women Drowned.

Some Particulars of the Disaster.



Another of those deplorable accidents which seem to be inevitable in the affairs of a maritime people, and to occur, apparently, in defiance of all precautionary safeguards, took place on Saturday night about half-past ten o'clock, by a collision between the steamer Plover and the schooner Trixie H., and resulting in the loss of five lives - three men in the prime of manhood, and two ladies, one married and one single. The blow fall this time upon the settlement of Heart's Content, Trinity Bay, and with dreadful severity upon one family thee - the Perceys - three of its members, William Percey and James Percy (sic), brothers of the captain of the ill-fated craft, and Hannah Maria Percey, his sister, being amongst the drowned. The other two of the five lost are Mrs. Eliza Warren and Richard Rockwood, both of Heart's Content, the latter being, up to last week, a member of the police on duty here, and noted as a worthy, sensible and efficient officer. The following are the particulars of the unfortunate event as narrated by Mr. William Senior, on board at the time. The Trixie H., a substantial, superior schooner of eighty-four tons, built at Hant's Harbor (sic) three years ago, left this port under the command of Robert Percey, of Heart's Content, the place f destination, at 5 o'clock on Saturday morning. She was half-laden with supplies for the Labrador fishery, and carried 16 persons all told, 3 being women; nine men constituted the crew, the rest being passengers. The schooner had a favorable time till she rounded into Trinity Bay, after which she had to tack. She was about midway between Old Perlican and Trinity, all the crew and the captain being on deck, when they saw the masthead light of a steamer, to all appearances three miles off. At first they supposed it was the harbor light of Trinity, but soon they saw the red (port) light, and knew a steamer was approaching. The steamer's port light was visiible (sic) for several minutes before the collision. The schooner's lights were also displayed, and our informant states that, at the moment, she was on the port tack; a short time previously the north-easter having sprung up, though fortunately there was yet no heavy sea on. The darkness of the night was impenetrable, but there was no fog nor thick weather. When Captain Percey saw that a collision was imminent, he ordered the helm to be put hard up, that the vessel might pay off before the wind; but before this could be entirely done the crash of collision took place, the steamer striking the schooner on the starboard bow. The latter plunged under water from the force of the shock, but soon recovered herself and floated for a short time. During that interval some of those on the deck of the schooner sprang for their lives at the bow chains of the steamer and scrambled safely aboard of her. Little time elapsed to admit of those below being warned. Five men were in the forecastle and three men and the three ladies in the cabin. All these were saved by the life-boat of the Plover, with the exception of the two ladies already mentioned, the third lady (who was saved) being Miss Mary Koon. The three lost men were on deck at the time of danger, the craft having careened over on her beam-ends from the shock, with her sails lying out flat n the surface, it is feared that they were caught beneath the sails and drowned. So rapid was the occurrence that there was no time to launch a boat from the schooner, and it is supposed the rescue by the Plover's boat was made in tow of three minutes. All admit that Captain Manuel did everything in his power to save their lives; the captain launched his boat in an incredibly short time, and, after having taken all on the schooner's deck, returned to the sinking vessel to save, if possible, the others; but in this the boat's crew were unsuccessful. The Plover, which had a lighter in tow for this port, remained on the scene of the disaster till daylight yesterday morning, but no vestige of the wreck could be seen. The steamer was then steered for Bay-de-Verde and entered this port about 10 a.m. It is the lost of life in such catastrophes that is the real loss to the community; the loss of property can be easily replaced by the insurance societies. Yet it should be remembered that this calamity could have been much worse, and had it occurred a few hours later, when the sea rose mountains high, the chances of those who were saved escaping would have been fewer. As it was, the sea was comparatively smooth when the fatal meeting of the ships took place, and probably greater loss of life was providentially averted. Captain Manuel has applied to the Governor in Council for a Marine Court of Enquiry as to the circumstances of the collision. He says he has full confidence that he can exonerate himself from all blame. At the same time the Captain naturally feels very much affected by the melancholy accident. Messrs. Whiteway & Johnston will appear for him before the Court.




Page transcribed by: James Butler, 2000
Page revised: Oct. 2002 (Terry Piercey)

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