Monday, February 18, 2008
1st class stairs
Storstad after collision
The Empress of Ireland was launched on January 26, 1906 and was 570 feet long and 66 feet wide. She was 9 hours into her voyage from Quebec, Canada to Liverpool, England carrying 1,477 passengers when a blanket of fog came down all of a sudden. It was May 14, 1914 and Captain Henry George Kendall was keeping a lookout for anything. Immediately, there were lights and they were coming closer at a great speed and then it hit the starboard side and scraped a huge hole. Then, the lights vanished. The impact was hardly felt and the water came in at 60,000 gallons a second. Those on the lower decks on the starboard side never even had the chance to wake up before water came over their heads! The only passengers that had the slightest chance of getting a life jacket on were on the top decks. The boats were being lowered quickly but all were full. In all, only 4 lifeboats were launched. Captain Kendall just stood there, watching all those people scream, panic, jump, and Kendall did nothing to regain order. instead, he ordered his Chief officer to help lower the boats. The
Chief Officer was never seen again. As the ship listed a little more, Kendall was thrown overboard from the bridge and landed next to a lifeboat where he was pulled in. The Empress then stopped when the water had consumed half the ship. There were about a hundred standing on the port side. Then, the ship gracefully slipped beneath the waves into the freezing St. Lawrence river. The captain then began rescue operations and picked up dozens of people from the water. They were later picked up by the Storstad which was the ship that sank her. 465 people survived including 4 children (out of 138) and 42 women (out of 279). 1,012 died. The owner of the Storstad was forced to sell her for $750,000 after a Law Suit was won by the owners of the Empress of Ireland for $2,000,000. Salvage efforts have gone slowly. There is a hole from where the U.S.A. had blasted their way to get a bullion of 6 billion dollars. Only the most experienced divers can go down there and they can see things like the Steward's Dormitory where sixty stewards never had a chance and now are in a
jumble of bones. The wreck is a graveyard and , like the TITANIC, we must think about that if anyone goes down there.