The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
W. I. Babcock (Propeller), U81204, capsized, 15 Dec 1897

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      Tug BACCOCK Sunk, But All On Board Rescued By Life Savers.
      Former Harbor Master Capt. James Doyle, Engineer Tupper and a deck-hand on the Hand & Johnson tug W.I. BABCOCK had a narrow escape from drowning yesterday afternoon.
      The BABCOCK was towing the steamer THOMAS DAVIDSON in the Creek near the Lackawanna chutes about 5 o'clock. The current was treacherous and the big steamer took a sheer. The tug pulled so hard to straighten the vessel around that her rail went under water. Capt. Doyle saw that the tug was getting too far over and yelled to the deck hand to let go the tow line, which he promptly did, but it got jammed in the overhang of the tow post and held fast. Before the deckhand could reach for an axe and cut the line the tug rolled over and quickly sank.
      Capt. Doyle had on a heavy overcoat and was practically helpless. The prompt action of the Life Saving crew undoubtedly saved his life and that of the engineer and deckhand. It was the last rescue of the season for the life saver as they quit work last night at midnight until next spring. The BABCOCK lies in 20 feet of water, top of her stack just showing above the surface. She will be raised at once.
      Buffalo Evening News
      Thursday, December 16, 1897 6 - 2

Steam screw W.I. BABCOCK. U. S. No. 81204. Of 63.99 tons gross; 31.99 tons net. Built Buffalo, N.Y., 1888. Home port, Buffalo, N.Y. 71.0 x 17.4 x 10.0 Of 60 nominal horsepower [estimated]
      Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1897

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Reason: capsized
Lives: nil
Remarks: Recovered
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Geographic Coverage:
  • New York, United States
    Latitude: 42.88645 Longitude: -78.87837
William R. McNeil
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W. I. Babcock (Propeller), U81204, capsized, 15 Dec 1897