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The Weekly Record, May 28, 1887

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

Three Men And Two Women Drowned.



Considerable excitement was caused in this town on the afternoon of Monday last, by the arrival of a Banksing schooner, with her flag half-mast; and this feeling of excitement did not abate when it was learnt that the vessel brought to port the body of a woman, which was discovered floating in the water, in the neighborhood of Ireland's Eye. The schr. Tasso, Capt. E. Martin, left port on the morning of the above day and was bound up the Bay in quest of bait, when, upon picking up the body of the unfortunate woman, he immediately shaped his course for this port. On arriving here the corpse was placed in charge of the Magistrate, G. H. Cole, Esq., for identification. The body was respectably attired, but without a jacket or collar, which suggested the thought that the poor woman had either left a house or a cabin of a vessel only a short time before her death. There was a bruise on the bridge of her nose, which was evidently caused by a heavy blow of some kind, possibly sufficient to stun one. Many persons visited the body during the afternoon, including a number of men from the outlying settlements, who were in town at the time, but none could identify the body of the poor woman, or give any information to how she met her untimely end. Under these circumstances of course conjecture was rife, and not till about 7 o'clock in the evening, when a small craft arrived and reported having passed a wreck, was any one at all certain as to how the unfortunate woman lost her life. And owing to to this craft being heavily laden and without a boat, the crew was unable to examine the wreck, and therefore could give but scanty information about what has proved to be a sad shipping accident. However, the melancholy facts were soon to be revealed, for at 8 p.m. a craft arrived from St. John's, bringing the sad intelligence that the steamer Plover had run down the schooner Trixie H. in Trinity Bay on Saturday night, and that five precious lives - three men and two women - had been sacrificed. Upon receipt of this news the body was decently codined and sent to Heart's Content, where it was believed the poor woman had belonged. It has since been ascertained that it was the body of Mrs. Warren of that place, who was lost during the wreck of the schr. Trixie H. Below we give a detailed account of the sad catastrophe, which we take from the Evening Telegram of Monday last, and which is said to be a very correct account of the accident: -

    Another of the 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 the resulting loss of five lives - three men in the prime of manhood and two ladies, one married and one single. The blow falls this time upon the settlement of Heart's Content, Trinity Bay, and with dreadful severity upon one family there - the Perceys - three of its members, William Percey and James Percey, brothers of the captain of the ill-fated craft, and Hannah Maria Percey, his sister, being amongst the downed. 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 in Hant's Harbor three years ago, left this port under the command of Robert Percey, of Heart's Content, the place of destination, at 5 o'clock on Saturday morning. She was half-laden with supplies for the Labrador fishery, and carried 10 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 of the crew and the captain being on deck, when they saw the mast head light of a steamer, to all appearances three miles off. At first they supposed it was the harbour light of Trinity, but soon they saw the red (port) light, and knew a steamer was approaching. The steamer's port light was visible 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 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 a\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 Kean. The three lost men were on deck at the time of danger, the craft having careened over on the beam-ends from the shock, with her sails lying out flat on 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 that rescue by the Plover's boat was made in two or 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 other; but in this the boat's crew was 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 loss of life in such catastrophes that is the real loss of 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 late, 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 effected by the e\melancholy accident. Messrs Whiteway and Johnston will appear for him before the Court.




Page transcribed by: James Butler, 2001
Page revised: Oct. 2002 (Terry Piercey)

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