Point Arguello, CA Steamer SANTA ROSA Wreck, Jul 1911

Steamer Wrecked; 20 Perish In Surf

Two Lifeboats of Stranded Santa Rosa Capsize with Escaping Passengers.

200 Left On The Ship

Vessel Reported Broken in Two and Waves Dashing Over It While Rescuers Work.

Surf, Cal., July 7.-The Pacific Coast Line steamer Santa Rosa went ashore near Point Arguello before dawn to-day. Of 200 passengers and 85 sailors aboard only 85 have reached land alive, and little hope is left of saving the others. The steamer was reported broken in two amidships late to-night, and heavy seas were then dashing over the wreck to which the sailors still clung.

Twenty passengers and sailors of the Santa Rosa of the pacific Coast Steamship Line, were crowned this afternoon in the surf while trying to escape from that vessel, which stranded near Point Arguello before dawn to-day.

These passengers left the ship in two lifeboats, which, buffeted by the heavy seas, were capsized, spilling occupants in the water. The lives of some were pounded out against the rocks, while others sank to the bottom. Several bodies were washed ashore.

At 9:30 o’clock to-night the Santa Rosa was almost submerged, and frantic efforts were making to save the rest of the two hundred passengers still on board.

At that hour the Government wireless station at Point Arguello reported that the vessel had broken amidships and that the immense breakers were dashing over her.

The Santa Rosa had struck at low tide, but there was little anxiety for the safety of those aboard till late in the day a huge wind and sea forced the abandonment of efforts to transfer the passengers to the steam schooner Centralia, which, with the schooner Helen P. Drew, had previously made fruitless efforts to float the stranded vessel. Up to that time there was in fact no apprehension of danger among the officers of the steamer. It was thought she could be floated. Capt. Faria answered the wireless queries with the statement that the ship was apparently lying easy and would be floated at the crest of the tide to-night.

As the wind rose, however, the Santa Rosa swung broadside to the breakers and began to break up. The crash of breaking timbers and overstrained steel could be hear by the wireless men at Point Arguello.

The first lifeboat was launched at dark, after every effort had been made to establish boat communication with the Centralia. The shore lay only 300 feet from the broken ship, but the lifeboat could not make it. It bobbed like a corb(sic) on the crest of the breakers, and the next instant was submerged.

There were sixteen persons in this boat-eleven passengers and five sailors. All were dashed to death against the rocks or drowned. Another boat was launched. It met the same fate. There were about nineteen persons in this boat. Fifteen managed to reach shore alive, battered and most of the unconscious.

The New York Times, New York, NY 8 Jul 1911