Cincinnati, OH Ice Gorge Rescue, Jan 1860
Jan 9, 1860
A THRILLING SCENE.---A SKIFF WITH TEN PERSONS SWEPT AWAY BY ICE.--- This day nine men and a female attempted to cross the Ohio river, at Cimcinnati, in a skiff, notwithstanding they were warned of the peril on account of the heavy floating ice. The "Enquirer" thus describes their venture, the rescue of nine of them, and the probable death of the other :---
"When in the neighborhood of the abutment to the suspension-bridge, the skiff was struck by some heavy ice, and in a moment more firmly fastened in a gorge. The rowlocks and oars were covered with ice, which prevented them from being used to much purpose, and the occupants of the skiff were so paralyzed by a sudden fear that they could do nothing to relieve themselves from their dangerous condition.
"Meantime the boat, which was not yet far out in the stream, was slowly but surely drifting down. A few persons, who had watched the perilous adventure from the ferry-boat below, endeavored to arrest the boat as it swept by, and partially succeeded in doing so. Seven of the men and the woman were rescued with considerable difficulty. The ninth man, the woman's husband, in endeavoring to gain the boat, fell back in the river and disappeared from view, amid the almost heart-rending screams of his almost distracted wife. A moment after, however, he appeared on the surface, struggling manfully for life. The current was strong and the ice sharp and cutting; but, being an expert swimmer, he kept himself above water, and succeeded in making a landing near the foot of Western Row, about four squares farther down. As might be supposed, he was almost exhausted on reaching the shore, and had he remained in the river five minutes longer he would certainly have perished. The joy of that wife, on seeing her husband, who, a moment before, had been struggling in the jaws of death, can be more easily imagined than described.
"Before the last man in the skiff could be rescued it broke loose from its fastening and was rapidly swept always with its solitary occupant. The poor fellow uttered no cry---gave no signal of distress---made no effort to extricate himself from what seemed inevitable death. The sight of his companion struggling in the chilly waves---the crashing sound of the ice---the biting temperature of the atmosphere---the bleak wintry sky overhead, studded with stars which 'Like the eyes of wolves glared at him,' seemed to have on him an overpowering effect. Motionless as a statue he stood, with folded arms, looking at the dim outline of the shore as it slowly receded from view, and taking what he believed to be a last view of earth. On, on, he was swept by the resistless current, his condition every moment becoming more and more critical. Along he moved down the dark river---to him, perhaps, the river of death---which ere morning might empty into that unknown sea that washes the boundaries of another world."
Vincent's Semi-annual United States Register, Jan-Jun 1860 page 28