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Dartmouth, NS Ferry Landing Collapse, July 1890

A FRIGHTFUL DISASTER THAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN A TERRIBLE ONE -- SEVEN PERSONS DROWNED.

Halifax, N. S., July 12. -- At Dartmouth last night the ferry landing stage, while crowded with about 500 persons, collapsed and they were thrown into the water. The disaster was caused by the slipping out of place of the chain which held the stage up. The front part of the float was thus dropped suddenly down, throwing the occupants into the water. The crowd, made up of men, women and children, were waiting for the new ferry steamer Annex, and as she came in, the stage gave way at the outer edge and the hundreds of people began to slide into the water, those near the end being buried beneath those further back until there was a solid mass of shrieking, struggling humanity packed as closely in the water as they had been on the dock.
For some minutes there was a confused crowd of men, women and children struggling in the water. A dozen young men leaped to the rescue and the drowning people were rapidly passed up to men standing on the wharves. The work of rescue was so rapidly performed that a great majority of those who fell in were saved from death. The rescuers worked until exhausted, helping the people to land until there were no more in sight and those who could not be saved had sunk out of sight. The work of rescue was a heroic one, and to this heroism and the promptness with which it was begun can be attributed the comparatively small loss of life. Four bodies have been recovered and it is thought that not more than three others lost their lives.
The disturbance thus aused to the over crowded landing stage seems to have caused the accident at least it was jast at this moment that the slump occurred and the hundreds of people on the stage began to slide down into the water, those nearest the end being buried beneath those further back, until there was a solid mass of shrieking struggling humanity packed as closely in the water as they had been on the deck. For some minutes there was a confused crowd of men, women and children struggling in the water.
A dozen young men leaped to the rescue and the drowning people were rapidly passed up to men standing on the wharves. The work of the rescue was so rapidly performed that a great majority of those who fell in were saved from death. The rescuers worked until exhausted helping the people to land until there were no more visible and those who could not be saved had sunk out of sight. When the crowd slipped off the landing stage hundreds of people along the wharf threw boards and sticks to the unfortunate people in the waters a number of life preservers were thrown to them from the steamer.
A great many of them were injured by the flying boards and all the bodies recovered have cuts and bruises. Most of those who fell in were women and children and the scenes immediately following the disaster were frightful. Several men and their wives were thrown in and the men made a brave struggle to save the lives of the woman and as far as known, with great success. HARRY SILVER was thrown in with his wife and managed to get her out safely. A man named BROLIC saw his wife struggling in the lock, jumped in and succeeded in saving her life. A woman named LOGAN with a young child was thrown into the water and made a hard struggle to keep the child above water until rescued. She was successful, and they were brought ashore alive.
EDWARD FOSTER, an elderly man and his daughter fell in together. The man was rescued alive but the daughter was drowned. When all the bodies in sight had been brought to land the work of grappling for the drowned ones was commenced. Within two hours after the accident four bodies had been recovered. It is believed that at least three or four others were lost. Divers are at work.
The names of thhose whose bodies have thus far been recovered are:
MISS BESSIE FOSTER.
PETER BOYLE, a Crimean Veteran.
MISS ALLIE SYNOTT.
JOHN BUNDY, a colored boy.

Logansport Pharos Indiana 1890-07-12
Trenton Times New Jersey 1890-07-12



article | by Dr. Radut