Cape North, NS Steamer TURRET BAY Sinking, May 1904



North Sydney, N.S., May 20. -- The worst marine disaster in the history of the St. Lawrence River coal trade occurred today off Cape North, the northernmost point of Cape Breton, when the British steamer Turret Bay, laden with coal, and bound from Sydney to Montreal struck on the rocks off St. Paul's Island, and sank in deep water twenty minutes later.
Thirteen lives were lost, only nine men from a crew of twenty-two being saved.
J. W. HAYDEN, the Captain.
M. A. McCARA, the first officer.
G. F. GRAY, the second officer.
W. H. ADAMS, the chief engineer.
H. S. MATTHEWS, the second engineer, and eight others went down with the vessel.
The first news of the wreck was received here in a telegram from the Government agent at St. Paul's Island. According to his report, the steamer struck near Southwest Light about 8:30 o'clock this morning. A dense fog prevailed at the time and the sea was running very high.
Immediately after striking the rocks the Turret Bay backed off into deep water, but her hull was terribly broken in by the force of the shock and she soon sank.
The crew attempted to cut the boats clear, but while thus engaged the vessel plunged down, bow first, carrying every man aboard with her. The men who could swim struggled to the surface and clung to the floating wreckage. Fourteen members of the crew were rescued by the lifesaving crew that put out from the island. Five of the men picked up died before reaching the island.
The survivors say that they did not know they were in danger until the vessel struck. The fog was so thick that the shore could not be seen. They heard the fog horn at the lighthouse, but mistook it for the whistle of another steamer.
The disaster occurred nineteen miles north of Cape North. There is a lighthouse on the northeast point of St. Paul's Island, and one on the southwest point, and a steam fog whistle is situated near the southwest light. It was this whistle that the crew of the Turret Bay heard.
The Turret Bay was owned by William Peterson, Limited, of Newcastle-on-Tyne, and under time charter to the Dominion Coal Company, carrying coal from Sydney to Montreal. The steamer was built in 1894 at Southerland and was of steel, her dimensions being; Length, 287 feet; breadth, 40 feet; depth of hold, 21 feet 7 inches. The net tonnage was 1,376 and gross tonnage 2,211. Capt. HAYDEN, her commander, was a native of Waterford, Ireland.

New York Times New York 1904-05-19