San Francisco, CA Ferryboat PERALTA Panic, Feb 1928
TEN DEATHS SET AS UNOFFICIAL TOLL IN PANIC ABOARD FERRY.
IMPROPER BALLAST IS BELIEVED RESPONSIBLE FOR S. F. BOAT TRAGEDY.
San Francisco, Feb. 18. -- (United Press) -- The unofficial list of missing in the accident to the Ferryboat Peralta reached 10 today. Two persons
reported in the first missing list of seven were found at their homes but five new names, including a child of three and its mother, were added.
Investigators were certain the loss of life was at least 10 and that possibly several more perished in the icy waters of San Francisco Bay late yesterday when the ferry shipped a heavy wave.
Captain W. H. Melsome, of the Peralta, refused to discuss the accident on orders from company officials.
"It was terrible, I can't talk," was the only comment of Captain W. A. Rassmussen, of the improperly ballasted.
One theory advanced for the cause of the accident
was that the Peralta might have been improperly ballasted.
The ship has two ballast tanks of 30 tons capacity
each. When the passengers crowd to one end of the boat, the tank at the opposite end is filled to counterbalance the human weight and keep the vessel on an even keel.
The possibility was pointed out by one shipbuilding official that the wrong tank might have been filled as the passengers crowded forward of the Peralta, thus causing it to dip its nose suddenly into the water.
Rev. E. T. McCarthy, pastor of an Oakland Catholic church, circulated a petition condemning the crew of the Hayward.
"They wouldn't or couldn't geta lifeboat off and they stopped as from throwing out life preservers," he said.
The Peralta, a Key System boat, left San Francisco at 5:15 p.m. and had almost completed the voyage to the pier on the opposite shore when the accident occurred.
Officials of the Key System estimated that only 20 persons were swept into the bay when the boat's nose dived into the water.
Of this number, they said, 13 were rescued, leaving seven missing.
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