Florida Keys, FL Glass Bottom Boat EUREKA Disaster, Dec 1930
FOUR KNOWN DEAD, AND 11 MISSING IN MIAMI DISASTER.
Miami, Fla., Dec. 15. - The fourth body to be recovered in the explosion of the glass-bottom excursion boat, Eureka, was brought to the surface by divers today.
It was that of MRS. FREEMAN H. SAWYER, of Miami, and was placed aboard a fishing boat and brought here.
The known dead:
H. C. GRIMM, of McCook, Neb.
CLARENCE WINE, 30, of Haverhill, Mass., a deckhand.
An unidentified woman about 50 years old, wearing a wedding ring with the initials "W.V.L".
MRS. FREEMAN H. SAWYER.
Finding MRS. SAWYER'S body reduced the number of missing persons to 11. Captain Wilfred I. Styles, commander of the Eureka, said "probably 122 persons, including the crew" were on board when the vessel went down. Police, however, estimated that the ship carried 127 persons.
Miami, Fla., Dec. 15. - Pleasure craft, schooners and Coast Guard vessels searched the Marine Gardens offshore here today for missing passengers of the glass-bottomed excursion boat Eureka, which exploded and sank yesterday while conducting more than a hundred sight-seers through the Florida Keys.
An official police checkup at 6 a.m. showed that three were known to be dead, and 12 were missing. The police department said the total number aboard the Eureka at the time of the accident was 127 and that its lists showed 112 accounted for. The officials told the United Press that the final casualty list probably would not be complete for another 48 hours.
The known dead were:
H. G. GRIMM, of McCook, Neb.
CLARANCE VINE, 30, a deckhand, of Haverhill, Mass.
An Unidentified woman about 50 years old wearing a wedding ring with the initials "W.V.L."
A Sunday afternoon cruise through the Florida Keys and the "Marine Gardens of the Atlantic Ocean" was brought to a tragic end by the fire and explosion late yesterday afternoon.
The Eureka, which was built on pontoons, had a glass hull through which the passengers could view the sea bottom, was approaching Miami on the return trip.
Suddenly smoke billowed out of the engine room. The Eureka was driven by a gasoline motor, and the oil-soaked exterior of the engine had caught fire.
As the fire spread to wood work and to the flimsy superstructure of the boat, there was a rush for life-preservers. There were no life-boats on the ship.
Survivors said, however, that in spite of the sudden danger confronting the passengers, there was no panic. The tourists put on life preservers and calmly, as the flames advanced, walked to the side of the ship and jumped overboard.
The orchestra continued to play, and one passenger picked up an extra saxophone and joined in with them.
At last, with the ship blazing from bow to stern, the last man on board jumped into the water. The captain of a fishing boat which rescued some of the passengers said later that they "looked like ducks on the water" as they floated in their life preservers.
Fifteen minutes after the fire broke out, there was a terrific explosion. The superstructure of the boat was thrown high into the air, and flaming debris showered down on the helpless men, women and children floundering in the water.
Rescue ships hurried to the scene. A small racing boat owned by G. E. Barrett, of New York, was one of the first to reach there, and picked up 27 survivors. Fishing boats and pleasure craft in the vicinity moved among the survivors, dragging them out of the water one after another.
Pittston Gazette Pennsylvania 1930-12-15