The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Accident to Algerian
The Standard-Freeholder (Cornwall, ON), 14 Aug 1939

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[Excerpt from Down the Lane column by George Wilson from an 1894 copy of The Cornwall Freeholder]

Accident To Algerian — A rumor spread through Cornwall that the Richelieu & Ontario Navigation Company’s steamer had struck a rock in the Longue Sault Rapids and was in a sinking condition led hundreds of citizens to hasten to the East End wharf to see the boat arrive. Her paddle-wheels moved slowly and she listed to the port side, where a hole was visible above the deck. It was learned that when the Algerian had nearly reached the foot of the rapids she suddenly listed. Then there came a crash and a great volume of water rushed in on the deck and through the open hatchway into the cook’s galley and the dining room. Many passengers were at dinner and a panic was averted by the coolness of the officers, who marched all passengers up stairs in single file. Investigation showed that a huge wave struck into the paddle-box and crashed through the partitions of the baggage room and the cook’s and engineer’s staterooms. The force of the water also tore a ragged hole in the side of the boat just above the deck line. Every motion of the paddle-wheels threw water into the boat and Captain Dunlop ordered steam shut off so that only sufficient speed for steerage was maintained until the boat reached the lower wharf.

About 300 passengers were on board. Most of them took a train to Montreal over the Grand Trunk Railway. It proved a harvest day for Cornwall hackmen, and every available vehicle was pressed into service to take the travellers from the boat to the station.

The cook, Archie Mercier, and the engineer, Mr. Wadsworth, were in their staterooms at the time of the accident and were buried in the wreck. They escaped serious injury. The water was pumped out of the hold and the hole in the paddle-box was temporarily closed by carpenters from the mill of L.A. Ross, and the Algerian left for Montreal. It was stated had the accident occurred at the head of the rapids, a terrible disaster might have resulted.

Down The Lane
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14 Aug 1939
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  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 45.0111435623212 Longitude: -74.7267665877007
Lyall Manson
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pd [more details]
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Accident to Algerian