The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Chicora (Steamboat), 20 Sep 1896


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Full Text

PANIC ABOARD.
      Toronto Passengers Have an Awful Experience on the Steamer CHICORA.
"The steamer Chicora in her voyage from Toronto to Lewiston yesterday afternoon experienced, according to old sailors on board, the roughest weather ever encountered on Lake Ontario," said Mr. Samuel Mayer of New York at the Iroquois last evening, Mr. Mayer was one of the passengers.
"It was an experience which I wouldn't go through again for all the wealth in the city of Buffalo" he continued. "The sky was clear and the sun was shining when we left Toronto, but before we were out a half hour the breeze stiffened rapidly and soon a hurricane was blowing. The lake was a mass of white-capped, tumbling waves. So tempestuous did the sea become that the majority of the passengers sought refuge on the lower deck. There were a number of women on board and when the big boat began to roll and toss an epidemic of seasickness spread from
bow to stern.
"The situation soon became alarming. Mountainous waves rose as high as the upper deck and swept everything before them. The weight of water crashed down the stairways, smashed several door to kindling wood and carried trunks, valises and heavy boxes from one end of the boat to the other.
"Some fool yelled that the boat was sinking and for a half hour a scene of wildest panic prevailed. Women ran hither and thither, tearing their hair and crying piteously for help. Others dropped on their knees and wildly cried to heaven for aid, One woman, crazed with fright ran about offering her money and jewels to anyone who would save herself and children from the awful death which she believed was imminent.
"One woman threw here arms around my neck in a paroxysm of fear and begged me in the name of heaven to save her. While I was trying to assure her that there was no reason to fear immediate danger, another grabbed me from behind and added her supplications to those of the one I was trying to quiet. Another grasped me tightly around the legs, and for a few minutes I was in an interesting fix. I thought they would strangle me.
"The fear was not confined to the women. Of all the men on board only half a dozen kept their heads. The captain and crew did everything in their power to restore order. They told the panic-stricken passengers that the boat was well able to ride the storm and asked them to listen to the steady pounding of the engines, but it was a long time before order was restored. Most of the women became hysterical when they realized that death was no longer before them. They laughed and cried by turns.
"I never felt more relieved in my life than I did when the boat ploughed her way past Niagara-on-Lake and on up the river. As I said before, I hope never to repeat the experience."
      Buffalo Evening News
      Sunday, September 20, 1896
     




Media Type:
Text
Newspaper
Item Type:
Clippings
Notes:
rough trip
Date of Original:
1896
Subject(s):
Local identifier:
McN.E.8338
Language of Item:
English
Donor:
William R. McNeil
Copyright Statement:
Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
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Chicora (Steamboat), 20 Sep 1896