STEAMSHIP CANADA, WITH 110 ABOARD, GOES DOWN !
Collided With Steam Ship BRETON near Sorel, Que., All But 5 passengers Saved.
BUFFALONIAN HAD NARROW ESCAPE.
Francis U. Kahle of this city was aboard the doomed vessel CANADA.
LAST TO LEAVE SINKING CRAFT.
The River Seemed Full of Struggling People.
Crew Behaved Splendidly, Thus Accounting for Small Loss of Life.
(By Associated Press)
Montreal, Que., June 13. - Six miles below Sorel at 2:30 o'clock Sundry morning, the Richelieu & Ontario Navigation Company's steamer CANADA, bound from Quebec for Montreal, came into collision with the Dominion Coal Company's collier CAFE BRETON. Twenty minutes later the CANADA went to the bottom. At the time of the collision there were 110 people on board and all were rescued except five. Those who perished are: Alfred Thibeaut, ticket agent of the company at Quebec, and his two sons, aged 12 and 15. Purser Bonneterre, of the CANADA A man named Brunet of Sorel. He is missing and it is supposed that he perished.
CRASHED JUST AS DAY WAS DAWNING.
The collision occurred just as the first signs of dawn were becoming visible. The CAFE BRETON lay at the entrance of the Lake St. Peter channel waiting for daylight so as to find her way through. She was just getting under way when the CANADA, making for Sorel at full speed, came into view.
Just how the collision occurred and who is responsible for it has not yet been determined, for the officers of the CANADA decline to talk, but from the statements given out it would appear that the CAFE BRETON had not got headway enough to answer her rudder and that she swerved across the path of the passenger boat, her bow striking the CANADA just forward of the paddle box on the starboard side and tearing its way half through.
SETTLED AT ONCE.
Then she swung clear and the two steamers came alongside one another. There was no necessity for arousing the sleeping passengers, for the shock of the collision had already done that.
The CANADA at once began to settle, and as the CAPE BRETON did not appear to be seriously damaged the passengers were hurriedly transferred to that steamer.
In the excitement some of the passengers jumped overboard and were picked up by boats from the CANADA and the CAPE BRETON, but generally those on board were composed, while the discipline shown by the crew was excellent.
Twenty minutes later when the CANADA went down alongside the CAPE BRETON, resting on her side in the mud, all the passengers had been transferred to the CAPE BRETON.
PURSER DIED AT HIS POST OF DUTY.
Thibeault and his two sons occupied a stateroom just above where the bow of the CAPE BRETON entered the CANADA, and it is supposed that they were killed in their berths. The body of the father was recovered later in the day, but those of the sons have not yet been found.
Bonneterre, the Purser, was seen after the collision making his way to his quarters on the lower deck, with the intention of saving his cash and his records, and it is supposed that he perished in the attempt.
Brunet was a second-class passenger, and no one saw him after the collision, though it is just possible that he went ashore with the crew of one of the boats which was sent to secure help from Sorel.
CREW BEHAVED WELL.
This arrived a few minutes after 4 o'clock, the steambarge PREFONTAINE being in the harbor with steam up. She brought the passengers and crew to Sorel and they were brought up to this city in the afternoon on board the company's steamer COLUMBIAN.
Many of the passengers who occupied staterooms on the upper deck were fortunate enough to save their baggage, but those on the main deck lost theirs. Some of them had but little clothing on, but these were supplied with the necessary garments on arrival at Sorel, so when they arrived in Montreal there was no evidence of the fact that they had just been through a wreck.
All the passengers speak highly of the efforts made by the captain and the crew of the CANADA to save the lives of the passengers and to their exertions is ascribed the slight loss of life that occurred.
There was much excitement when the news of the sinking of the steamer became known, first reports placed the loss of life at 100.
Buffalo Evening News
Monday, June 13, 1904