Pekin, IL Excursion Steamer COLUMBIA Sinking, Jul 1918



Peoria, Ill., July 8. --- With sixty-three bodies recovered and the total number of dead estimated at 100 to 150 persons, government, state and county officials began searching inquiries into the cause of the wreck of the excursion steamer COLUMBIA, Friday.

Peoria, Ill. July 6. --- The number lost by the sinking of the COLUMBIA is placed at 175 by the chief of police of Pekin. A message from him says his estimate is based on information gathered as to the probable number of passengers carried.

Peoria, Ill. July 6. --- Hundreds of people are believed to have been drowned when the excursion steamer COLUMBIA overturned in the Illinois river five miles south of here last night. All available nurses and physicians have been summoned from Pekin, Ill., which is near the scene of the accident. The boat jammed against the Peoria side of the river in a fog and tore a huge hole in the bow of the boat. It sank almost immediately.

As soon as the news reached Peoria relief parties were organized. Every doctor in the city who could be summoned was directed to report to the depot. A special train was made up at once and rushed to the scene of the disaster.

There were 450 excursionists on board the boat when it left Alfresco park, Peoria, on the return trip to Pekin. The boat ran into the Peoria shore in a fog that was prevailing. It backed away and began sinking immediately, water rushing in through a large hole in the bow.
Loss of life is said to have resulted largely from the panic that followed immediately on the boat as it began to sink.

Summit County Journal Colorado 1918-07-13