Bowers Beach, DE Boat Capsizes In Delaware Bay, May 1937
THREE MEMBERS OF GLENOLDEN FAMILY DROWN.
FRAIL HOMEMADE BOAT CAPSIZES IN DELAWARE BAY OFF BOWERS BEACH.
FATHER, SON AND SON-IN-LAW VICTIMS OF TRAGEDY -- 2 BODIES RECOVERED.
Thrown into the stormy waters of Delaware Bay three miles off Bower's Beach, Del., when their flimsy, home-made fishing skiff capsized Saturday, three members of a Glenolden family were drowned.
Two of the bodies were recovered shortly after the 11-foot craft was overturned, but other vessels were still searching this morning for the body of the third victim of the tragedy.
CHARLES WYCKOFF, 47, of 92 North Elmwood Avenue.
EDWARD WYCKOFF, 16, his son, of the same address.
ROBERT ACITO, 22, WYCKOFF'S son-in-law, who lived in an adjoining apartment.
The elder WYCKOFF'S body was the first to be recovered, being identified by Delaware State Police through auto registration and driver's cards found in his watersoaked wallet. His son's corpse was identified late Saturday night by G. E. Cherrington, of Ambler, a Philadelphia coal broker and brother-in-law of WYCKOFF who had hurried to the scene immediately after being informed of the disaster.
Through statements made by members of the Wyckoff and those who discovered the overturned boat and the bodies, authorities were able to develop a picture of the entire trip.
Janet Wyckoff, daughter of the dead man, said that the fishing expedition had been planned by the three men so that a new outboard motor her father had recently purchased could be tested.
The party left Glenolden Saturday morning at 3 o'clock, she said, with the tiny craft lashed atop the automobile.
Arriving at Bower's Beach, the trio apparently searched for a secluded section of the beach in which to launch the vessel because, as police believe, the men were afraid federal navigation officers would prevent their using the boat because of its size, if they tried to put out from a regular wharf.
Their automobile was found parked in a lonely area by police after the investigation was under way.
After the two WYCKOFFS and AELLO had launched the boat, they started the motor and headed out into the stream. At 10:30 o'clock, crew members of a regular fishing boat pulled up alongside, when it was apparent that the county men were having trouble with their engine.
"We advised them to come aboard our craft," one of the crew said, "but instead, they waved us away when their faltering motor started up again."
Sometime between 10:30 and 3 o'clock, the little vessel was capsized, presumably by a gust of wind. A stiff wind was blowing all day on the bay and fishermen believe it was strong enough to have overturned the boat.
Earl Fisher, of Dover, saw the elder WYCKOFF'S body floating in the bay at 2 o'clock and started with it for Dover. A few minutes later, William Short, of Dover, found the capsized vessel and the son's corpse.
Both bodies were taken ashore and Glenolden authorities notified. Representatives of the Griffith undertaking firm went down and returned with the bodies to this county. A party from the area went to Bowers Beach yesterday to see if the boat had been taken care of and what condition the motor was in.
Burgess John S. Dove, of Folcroft, who went with the group, hand nothing but praise for the efforts of Delaware authorities in recovering the bodies. Others who went were Stanley Haller and son, Stanley, Jr., E. Lewis Meadowcroft, Thomas Savage and George G. Steele.
Wyckoff was a pattern-maker at the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company's plant. He is survived by his widow and the daughter, Janet. AELLO operated a printing shop in Folcroft and leaves his widow, Lucille, an expectant mother.
Chester Times Pennsylvania 1937-05-17