False River, LA Steamer CORONA Explosion, Oct 1889


A Steamer Blown Up In the Mississippi River

The Survivors Rescued by the Crew of the St. Louis.

Another terrible disaster is added to the long list of steamboat tragedies on the Mississippi River. The steamer Corona, at about ten o'clock in the morning, when opposite False River, about one hundred and fifty miles above New Orleans, exploded her boilers with frightful effect, killing forty-six of the passengers and crew and completely wrecking the boat, which sank almost immediately.

The loss of life would have been much greater had not the steamer City of St. Louis, commanded by Capt. JAMES O'NEAL, been in the immediate neighborhood of the Corona at the time of the disaster and saved all on board or who were thrown into the water and not killed by the explosion.

L. T. MASON, Secretary of State for Louisiana, who, with his wife, was a passenger on the Corona, having got aboard at Baton Rouge, fourteen miles from the scene of the accident, states that he was in the cabin talking with MRS. E. W. ROBERTSON, widow of Congressman ROBERTSON, at the time the explosion occurred. He immediately secured life preservers and succeeded in saving MRS. ROBERTSON and another lady. There was very little time for preparation, as the boat went down like lead a few minutes after the explosion. The steamer City of St. Louis was coming down the river and was hailed. She rounded to and took on board the passengers and crew who were not lost in the river, and kindly cared for both the injured and the saved.

MRS. E. W. ROBERTSON says she was wedged in the ladies cabin as a result of the explosion, some of the debris lying across her lower limbs, but was suddenly released and found herself floating in the river. She sank twice, but was luckily picked up, escaping with a few painful bruises.

L. C. RAWLINS, the pilot of the Corona, was asleep in the Texas at the time of the explosion when it occurred he was awakened by the noise it made. He was painfully burned on both hands.

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