FATAL COLLISION IN St. CLAIR RIVER.
Port Huron, Mich., Aug. 4. - The barge SANTIAGO , in tow of the steamer APPOMATTOX collided with and sank the steamer (sic) FONTANA, in tow of the steamer CALIYUGA in the St. Clair River early this morning. The collision occurred opposite Fort Gratiot lighthouse, at a point where the channel is narrow and up and down boats are obliged to pass close together.
One life was lost, John McGregor, who shipped on the FONTANA at Erie, Pa., two months ago, was asleep in the forecastle when the collision occurred. The FONTANA sank bow first and he had no chance to escape.
The APPOMATTOX and SANTIAGO were bound up and the CALIYUGA and FONTANA were bound down. A light fog prevailed. The steamers passed each other safely, but the SANTIAGO sheered into the FONTANA and struck her forward, making a big hole in the latter's bow. The FONTANA sank in a few minutes, bow first. Her cabin and stern are out of water.
The members of the crew, excepting McGregor, were on deck, and they barely managed to get into the yawl boat before the FONTANA plunged to the bottom of the river. They lost all of their personal belongings. Capt. George McCoy was in charge of the FONTANA, while Capt. Frank Hebner commanded the SANTIAGO. The APPOMATTOX and her consort immediately came to anchor and lay by the wreck all night.
The officers and crew of all four boats positively refuse to talk about the collision.
Marine men had been looking for a third disastrous collision in the channel between Lake Huron and Lake Erie, as all marine disasters come in cycles of three each.
The schooner FONTANA is owned by the Cleveland Cliffs Iron Co., of Cleveland, O. She was built in 1888. She is 231 feet long, 39 feet beam, net tonnage, 1,105.
August 5, 1900
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Schooner SANTIAGO. U. S. No. 116893. Of 2600 gross tons; 2535 tons net. Built West Bay City, Mich, 1899. Home port, Duluth, Minn. 324.0 x 45.5 x 21.5
Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1900