Crash Sinks British Ship
35 Aboard Rescued in St. Clair River
Algonac, Mich., June 16. -- The British freighter WILLIAM BREWSTER, laden with 90,000 bushels of lend-lease wheat for England, lay on the bottom of the St. Clair River today, sunk after a collision on her maiden voyage.
All 35 men aboard were saved. Most of them were picked up by Coast Guards from the river into which they leaped after donning life belts.
Credit for averting a blockade of the South Channel, through which passes much of the vital war traffic on the Great Lakes, went to Capt. James McLaren, of Dundee, Scotland, the BREWSTER's commander.
In the six minutes or less that elapsed between the collision with the 380-foot freighter WILLIAM D. CALVERLEY, JR., and the sinking, Capt. McLaren headed his foundering ship for shore, water pouring through a gaping hole forward of amidship, and cleared the channel before it struck bottom in Canadian waters, off Walpole Island. The vessel turned on its side and lay half submerged in 30 feet of water.
The CALVERLEY, owned by the Pioneer Steamship Co., of Cleveland, returned to Detroit for repairs to its bow. It had been bound for Racine, Wis., with a cargo of coal.
Joint inquiries were opened today by the United States Steamboat Inspection Service and the Canadian Maritime Commission. Officers and crew members refused to comment on the cause of the accident in advance of the investigation, but witnesses said it apparently resulted from a confusion in signals.
A representative of the British Maritime Commission came from New York to inspect the damage.