The Examination
previous page     BC Lists     Clallam Index     next page
from the Victoria Daily Colonist, 20 Jan 1904, pg.3

Questions of the Inspectors and Answers of Capt. Roberts

Follow are the more pertinent questions propounded by Capt. Whitney and Engineer Turner, and Capt. Roberts replies:

How far from Victoria were you, captain, when the engines stopped?
I think we were about three and a half miles - possibly four miles due south of Discovery light.

Did you see Dungeness when you passed?
No, sir.

From your calculations, your run into Victoria would have been that day - (Interrupting.) About one hour.

About one hour?
Yes, sir.

What is your time from Port Townsend over?
The average is about three hours.

About three hours? Was the 'Clallam' leaking any between Port Townsend and Seattle or Seattle and Port Townsend that day?
Not that I know of.

Was she leaking from the time you left Port Townsend until the time that you had the southwest squall.
No sir, not that I know of; I didn't know anything about the leaks until I saw - went down with the engineer. I didn't know there was any water in the vessel.

Did you have any difficulty steering the 'Clallam' that day?
No, sir.

When you were apprised of the fact that the steamer was leaking, of the first report that you had from the engineer, how far from Dungeness then were you?
I was about three miles and a half due south - four miles south of Discovery island light.

You were well over on the other side, then, before you were notified at all that there was anything wrong with the engine room?
Yes, sir.

At the time that the engineer first whistled to you through the tube, did he say that there was anything wrong, except that the port had been busted?
No, that is all - just simply that the port had been busted - port was broken he said.

Broken? When you went below after being notified personally by him, of when he came to the bridge, and you went below, was there anything above the main deck that you could see was wrong?
No, sir.

ny of the side ports broken in?
No. sir.

The gangway ports were all right?
All right.

Had the steward's department or anyone else notified you that any of the windows of the dining room - the dining room is on the main deck, is it not?
That any of these windows had been broken in?
No, not that I am aware of.

Was there any water in the main deck when you went down there?
No, sir.

Was Capt. Lawrence a seafaring man on the coast and experienced in inland waters?
I couldn't answer that question - but I knew he was a seafaring man.

What vessel had he been master of, to your own personal knowledge?
Well, as to that I could not say. I think he was a master of the 'Princess Louise' and the 'Maude', and he had charge of the steamer for the quarantine station, and he was master at least two or three seasons, or three or four seasons on the Yukon and Lake Atlin.

Capt. Lawrence told you that he thought the best thing to do was to try to get the women and children into the boats?
We consulted - I consulted with him for a few minutes, and he thought that was the best thing to do, and he was very willing to take charge of the boat himself.

When you lowered the boat, how far from Discovery island were you?
Oh, I should think possibly three miles. We were drifting towards San Juan all the time.

Have you ever followed the sea outside of the coast trade here and in Puget sound and Alaska?
Yes, sir. I followed the sea until I came to Puget sound continuously.

How long have you been following this water in the Puget sound and Southeastern Alaska waters - just approximate the time?
About thirty-two years.

When you went to bed that day, after rounding Point Wilson, you didn't experience any trouble or feel nervous at all?
No, sir.

Did you ever have any report from the engineer that she was leaking?
no sir.

On former occasions, I mean?
No, sir.

Ever break your deadlights before?
Not that I am aware of; if there was such a thing nobody reported it to me.

Smash in any of the side ports?
Not that I know of.

Ever break in any of the windows?
No, sir.

Did the vessel ever show any signs of complaining, groaning or the house lacking in the straits before?
No, sir.

Did you see any vessels that day in the straits after you were broken down?
Yes, sir; I saw a steam schooner bound down the straits.

How far from you was she passing?
I should judge about five miles astern.

She didn't notice your signals?
No, sir; she was too far away to notice the distress - any distress signals.

Could you have seen her flags, had she had them set, that day, do you think?
It was hardly possible.

You had electric lights and oil lights on that ship, did you not?
On lights for the side lights and masthead lights.
That is what I mean.
Yes, sir, and lamps.

What lights did you have after dark - what lights did you have set?
I had the masthead lights and the side lights. I drew up the red light as a distinguishing signal - something to attract attention - under the masthead light, but it blew so hard I couldn't get them to burn; it was blown out.

It was blowing your lights out?
Yes, sir.

What signals did you use to attract the 'Holyoke's' attention when she came along?
By waving lanterns.

Did you see her lights before she saw yours do you think?
Well she must have been within, I should think a quarter of a mile of us when I first saw her.

Was the weather still squally?
The weather was blowing had - a very heavy sea running.

And also rain squalls?
No; it was setting to a heavy gale; of course, there was squalls coming along - it blew harder at times.

You think you did not see the 'Holyoke's' lights farther than a quarter of a mile from you?
I don't think so - not from the time the light was first seen until she was alongside of the vessel, until 'Holyoke' hooked unto me.

These boats you had down to the rails were water boats?
Yes, sir.

One was on your port side?
Yes, sir.

When it turned you around it brought them on the lee side?
On the lee side.

Do you think these boats would have lived at that time with the passengers in them?
I don't think so.

It was just as rough at that time as it was before?
There was very little difference; but not great deal.

How close to you could the 'Holyoke' get with safety.
Well; when she threw her line aboard, in passing our bow, she must have been I suppose, within thirty or forty feet. When we took his line aboard he was probably 70 or 80 feet.

And you thought until he straightened away, that he was going to try to take you into some nearer port, did you?
I thought possibly he was going to take us in back of Smith's island, in a place where it was smoother water - but as he didn't seem to understand it - didn't seem to - it didn't seem we could make him understand what the condition of the vessel was, he went on towards Port Townsend.

Was there anyone else, in the excitement, that said anything else to him - where to go - that would mislead him in any way?
Well, there was a good many of them there, and everyone that was there was yelling to the captain of the towboat at the time that he was alongside.

Was there any concerted action at the time there, or did each one seem to have a different opinion?
Not each one seemed to want to go to - some wanted to go to Victoria, some wanted to go to Port Townsend - until I asked them to keep quiet.

Did the people who were then aboard request you to lower the boats and put them in and transfer them?
No, sir.

Do you think it would have been safe to have attempted to get them in the boats, from your former experience?
No, sir, I did not.

Do you think at the time that you noticed the 'Sea Lion' to tell the 'Holyoke' to stop pulling and take all your passengers, that the vessel was going to turn turtle?
Yes, sir. The purser came to me and told me then that the water was coming in through the dining room windows aft.

Why didn't you call the 'Holyoke' back sooner by signals?
As I was afraid of losing time. I was endeavoring to get her somewhere where the water would have been in condition so that I would be safe in lowering the boat.

Why didn't you set your sails that day before; after you struck this wind, or the wind struck you and you went on past Dungeness?
I set the vessel - she was in a heavy sea - I tried to keep the vessel headed to the sea, to keep her from doing any damage - haul her up headed to the sea - especially to the tide rip - that heavy tide rip below Dungeness.

The sails would not have drawn?
No, sir.

Did the sails seem to steady the vessel any after you had set them after she had fallen into the trough of the sea?
Yes, sir.

Was there enough steam to make any headway on her, or did she simply drift - square drift?
She simply drifted.

Just about a square drift?
Yes, sir.

You didn't know whether the first boat that you launched had spilled its people out before the second boat was launched or not?
No, I did not.

How many people did you put in the first boat?
There were, I think, about sixteen people, all told.

You don't think that she was full to her full capacity allowed by the law, do you?
No, sir.

How many people were in the second boat?
I should think about the same number - 16 or 17.

Did these boats have the full equipment of oars? Yes, sir.

And rowlocks?

Do you remember, whether they were fitted with automatic plugs or not, or whether the plugs were -
I don't think so; I think they were capped plugs, screwed in; I am not positive of that.

There was no water in the boats when you lowered them away, was there?
No, sir. I requested each man as they went in to see that their plugs were properly fixed up before allowing a passenger to get into the boat.

Did you give each one of them fire buckets or bailers?
There were at least two fire buckets in each boat.

Capt. Whitney - I want the records to show that the 'Clallam's' boat, No. 1, is 224 cubic feet capacity, allowed to carry 22 people - by law.

No. 3 boat. you say was the second one you lowered?
Yes, sir; the wooden boat.

Capt. Whitney - I want the records to show that the capacity of No. 3, is 224 cubic feet.

And No. 5 boat, you say, is the one in which the falls fouled and spilled the people out of it?
Yes, sir.

Capt. Whitney - I want the records to show that that boat has a capacity of 157 cubic feet and is allowed by law to carry sixteen people.

How many people were on her life raft, captain, after it was loosened from the upper deck - at the time she turned?
I don't think that there was any at all. The mate and some other man were ordered to get it clear.

After it was launched clear into the water, how many people got on her?
I couldn't say, but I think about sixteen.

About sixteen?
Yes, sir.

Capt. Whitney - Let the record show that this life raft was a new iron life raft of the Barstow pattern, built by, Proctor, of Seattle, having a capacity of 500 feet, or 50 persons.

After your attempt to get the first boat over the side, captain, you say you commenced to bail the ship with buckets?
No, we got the water boats over the sides after that, before we did anything else.

Before this?
Yes, sir.

But then you went to the -
(Interrupting) Then the report came to me that she was not making water very fast; then I gave my attention to keeping the water free.

To keeping the water free?
Yes, sir.

You say you worked the deck pump?
I tried to work the forward pump.

Did it work?
It worked all right, but when the mate went down there, there was no water in the forward part of the steerage.

There was no water up to the suction then of the forward pump?
No, sir, the water was in the aft part of the ship.

About what time were the fires put out, do you know?
I don't know.

Were you notified that the fires were put out by anyone?
No, sir, the first I knew was when I sent Capt. Lawrence down, and he told me that the engines were stopped. I supposed that the fires were out was the reason they stopped the engine.

You were not notified that the ship was leaking at all, if it was leaking?
No, sir - not until the engineer came himself to the pilot house.

Well, I mean before anything went radically wrong>?
No, sir.

You don't know positively; then that the ship was not leaking when she left Port Townsend?
I do not; no, sir.

Mr. Turner - Captain at the time that the chief engineer notified you that the ports had given away, did he mention the fact that the bilge had got beyond his control?
No, sir, never said anything to me at all until he spoke up through the speaking tube, stating that one of the ports had stove in, but he said nothing further, and I surmised that it was a port on the main deck, and that was a quarter to 3 - 2:45. About fifteen minutes afterwards he came back and he came to the pilothouse himself, and said that the deadlight was broken in the engine room.

Well, did he tell you at the time that the water was gaining on him?
Well, he said nothing about water; that is all he said - that the deadlight had broken, and I went down with him.

Well, how long was this before the fires went out?
Oh, I should judge possible not to exceed fifteen minutes - twenty minutes - that is up to the time the engine was stopped - I don't know whether the fires were out at the time or not.

Well, if the bilges had been beyond control for an hour, or an hour and a half before that; and he had notified you would that have given you time to get to a place of safety before the fires were extinguished?
It would have given me time to turn the ship around and get her before the wind, and get her so that she could be taken care of.

Had you ever been notified by the engineer at any time previous to this that the pumps were not of sufficient capacity, or were out of order, or anything of the kind?
No, sir.

Capt. Whitney - How long after passing Dungeness or Point Wilson was it before you struck this southwest wind, approximately? How far down were you from Dungeness?
We struck the squall, I judge, about ten minutes after rounding Point Wilson.

You were not down anywhere near Protection Island?
No, sir.

If you had been notified, captain, between that time and the time you arrived at Dungeness spit, or at any time after you passed Dungeness spit, when you were nearer the other shore, that anything unusual was going wrong with the engine room, would you have proceeded or would you have turned around?
I would have turned around.

You are acquainted with the shore line at Dungeness?

You know also that there is a long flat off there that you could beach a vessel on?
previous page     BC Lists     Clallam Index     next page     top