|Says Clallam Would be Afloat Today if Rudder
Had Been Right|
VICTORIA, Jan. 25 - Special - Concluding that it is impossible for him to get a fair show at
the inquiry now being held in Seattle into the loss of the 'Clallam', Chief Engineer Scott De Launay, of the lost steamer, is in the city to give his evidence at the coroner's inquest here. To a reporter he said it was very evident to him and many others that inspectors Turner and
Whitney were suppressing the facts in the case. He noticed that when anyone attempted to tell of the condition of the rudder he was sidetracked at once.|
"The rudder," he said, "was never all right, with the exception of possibly the first week after it was shipped. I have heard Capt. Harry Carter, her former captain, say that he would not leave Victoria if the wind were blowing at all fresh from the southwest with the rudder in that condition. He was always complaining about the rudder, and said that the company might be sorry that it let it go so long a time without repairing it.
It is a well-known fact by all aboard that in order to turn the ship around it was necessary to run the engine dead slow, and if there was any wind blowing it was next to impossible to get her round at all.
"If that rudder had been in good condition the steamship 'Clallam' would be afloat today. It is rather amusing to hear the deck department say they never had any trouble with it. I have seen on more than one occasion the men working with might and main on that rudder. * * Now understand, I had notified the captain that he must turn the ship around or she would sink, for when I saw the deadlight stove in I believed that unless the ship could be brought around she would sink. This was when the ship was abreast of Dungeness spit. Knowing the condition of the rudder I was particular to notify the captain in plenty of time. This was before she took in much water.
"If he could have gotten her before the wind we would have had no trouble in stopping the inflow of water through the deadlight. But the condition of the rudder prevented this. Now, this is known not only to me alone, but by the officers and crew. Capt. Roberts had the jib set, hoping to get her around but she wouldn't come, so we lay there wallowing in the trough of the sea, or nearly so.
"We were attempting to stop the water from coming in throngh the disabled deadlight, but as the ship was taking a heavy list to starboard and as the deadlight was on that side we did not whol1y succeed. We got it blocked several, times only to have it btoken in again. We had all the pumps working on the bilge that were connected until they became choked with coal and other debris from the bilge, such as shavings, chips, ashes, etc. The Shaving and chips came from beneath the skin and have been there since she was constructed. Mr. Jolm Hefferman said the feed pump was connected with the bilge. I am absolutely positive it was not. He also said that the pipe in the bilge suction from the circulator was perforated also. My two oilers and myself are positive there was nothing of the kind, but simply a pipe screwed into the flange on the suction valve. If there was a pipe, as he described, how does he account for the condenser becoming choked.
All I want is a fair show. Why am I told to get out while Captain Roberts is giving his testimony, and why was he allowed to remain when everyone else gave theirs? Why are not the passengers subpoenaed? The inspectors have the power to do so. Capt. Hall of the Holyoke could give some very interesting evidence if he were called. Where is he? Why do they dwell so lightly upon the time and operation of lowering the small boats? Why were not officers of the ship not sent to command these boats? Why were the second and third boats lowered when the first had met such a fate.
"The captain in his testimony said he thought the 'Clallam' was sinking. Is it not reasonable to assume that he must have known, the ship was sinking six hours later when the 'Holyoke' came to our assistance? Yet he was perfectly willing to risk the lives of his passengers and crew by being towed to Port Townsend. When Capt. Hall took me off the top of the Pilot house, four hours later, he said to me, "My God, why didn't Roberts say his ship was full of Wwater?"
Capt. Hall said he would have tried to take off some of the passengers or he could have towed the ship to the lee of Smiths island. Capt. Hall said he never thought we had any water in us.
"I do not, nor did I think for one moment that I am responsible for the death of one person. I was neither negligent nor careless or ignorant. If I had had such an opinion I would never have attempted to save myself."