A FIGHT FOR LIFE
A Survivor's Story of the Loss of the Dean Richmond
Dunkirk, October 16. - One man survived the terible disaster of the steamer Dean Richmond, which was sunk in deep water off this port Saturday night. He is C. L. Clark, who was wheelsman on the Richmond and shipped at Toledo. He came into town today, nearly dead from his terrible fight for life in the angry waters. He was interviewed this afternoon and gave a vivid story of the loss of the steamer.
"We left Toledo Friday morning," he said, "bound for Buffalo. The weather looked bad and the captain made up his mind to put into Erie for shelter. The gale struck us during Friday night, but we made good progress against it for a long time. Instead of going down, which we supposed it would, it only increased in violence as the night wore on, and Saturday morning Captain Stoddard headed for Erie. The sea was to high to attempt it, as our course was in the trough of the sea. The gale became a hurricane in the morning, and at 2 o'clock in te afternoon the smokestacks went over the side. One hour later a huge wave came over our boats and washed the pilot house off. The wheelsman on duty had a narrow escape at that time and the wheel and steering gear were swept away. The rudder broke and the Richmond drifted helplessly in the sea. The engines were kept moving and it was tried to run her ashore, but this failed also. The seas were following each other in quick succession and the cabins were nearly all gone. At 11 o'clocl I was caught by a wave which landed me some distance from the boat. I turned on my back as a blinding flash of lightning revealed the steamer. I saw the hatch covers fly up and the the boat rolled to one side and took in much water. Then she seemed to stand on end and go down. The light faded and I never saw her again.
"How I got ashore is a mystery to me. I had nothing to cling to and as the waves broke over me I was rendered unconscious by the force of their weight. When I came to I was on the beach, surrounded by wreckage and about four miles from the town.* Slowly my strength came back , and in two or three hours I managed to get on my feet and make my way to a house, where I was given food. I then made my way to town. The captain had his wife and three children, and as they have not been heard from, they must have down with the boat. We had four life boats, but in the storm were unable to launch them."