Sandy Hook, NJ Steamer FINANCE Sinking, Nov 1908


Steamer Finance Sunk Off Sandy Hook By the Georgic.


The Finance Went Down Within Ten Minutes, Carrying to Their Death Three Passengers and One of the Crew--Many Jumped Overboard and Were Picked Up--One Woman, Who Clung Frantically to Sinking Vessel and Could Not Be Forced From Her Position, Had to Be Left to Her Fate.

New York, Nov. 27.--In the thick of a fog off Sandy Hook the stout steel freighter Georgic, of the White Star line, rammed and sank the lightly laden Panama line steamer Finance, outward bound with eighty-five passengers. The Finance went down within ten minutes after the collision, carrying to their death three of her passengers, who included nineteen women and fourteen children, as well as others of the crew, were rescued by the boats of the Georgic. The freighter was not damaged.

The dead are: Miss Irene Campbell, Charles H. Schweinler, Henry Muller, all of Panama, and William H. Todd, third assistant engineer.

The disaster occurred in the main ship channel off Sandy Hook, and as both the vessels were groping their way through a fog that has held up maritime commerce in local waters for the past three days. The prow of the freighter penetrated the side of the Finance nearly ten feet, tearing away an unoccupied stateroom and leaving a ragged hole through which the water rushed in. The Panama steamer heeled far over to starboard, while men and women, many of whom had been thrown from their berths. Hastily covering themselves with bed clothing and making little attempt to dress, these rushed in a panic to the main deck, which was fast sinking to the surface of the water. Many of the passengers jumped overboard before they could be restrained by the crew of the injured steamer, many not even stopping to provide themselves with life preservers.

Immediately after the accident the freighter backed off and anchored, her commander, Captain Clark, in the meantime having ordered the lifeboats lowered. The boats of the Finance were also cut away as quickly as possible, though with difficulty because of the heavy list of the sinking vessel. Attention was first given to those who had jumped overboard, and a score or more were picked up by the small boats. Meantime the Finance was settling steadily.

When it was believed that all had left the vessel and the water had reached the rail, Miss Campbell was discovered holding tenaciously to a post in the rail. Appeals to her to throw herself into the water or allow herself to be taken into a small boat failed. Then two sailors clambered onto the half-submerged deck and, seizing the terror-stricken woman, one at either arm, struggled to force her from her position. A powerfully-built woman, her natural strength seemed magnified by madness, and neither reason nor force could break her hold. The men abandoned her only in time to save themselves, the vessel sinking under their feet as they climbed into a lifeboat. With a despairing cry, the woman disappeared.

Adams County News, Gettysburg PA Nov 28, 1908