Saturday, August 13, 2016

On This Date in Minnesota History: August 13

August 13, 1913 – Seven of a total of 23 persons in a launch party were drown in St. Louis Bay today when a flimsy top, used for seats on the launch Dauplaise gave way and the 14 people riding there were thrown into the water.

Seven people were taken from the water by tugs and by the U. S. government launch Nemadji.

The accident occurred shortly after the launch had gone through the drawbridge of the Northern Pacific railroad and about 100 feet from the end of a dock. The tug Sinclair came up behind the launch, causing a heavy swell. The Dauplaise was caught in the swell and the rocking of the boat threw the passengers on the canopy top to the side, causing the supports to give way, throwing the people into the water.

As the engineer of the launch attempted to reverse the boat so as to get relief from the swell the clutch to the engine broke, causing the launch to run about 150 feet from those in the water.

Men on the tug Sinclair went to the rescue, as did men on the tug Crosby, which was following the launch.

H. C. Bellinger, engineer in charge of the launch Nemadji, went to the scene after notifying life savers.

Negligence and carelessness is charged by Mr. Bellinger as being the principal cause for accident. He stated that the top of the boat had been flimsily fixed and that only small bolts held the affair in place. He also stated that he had not seen any life preservers on the launch.

Members of the party who were rescued went into hysterics and had to be restrained from jumping into the water by the government officials. Many of the rescued had to be taken to the hospital.

The Minneapolis Morning Tribune; “7 Persons Drown When Launch Top Gives Way. Minneapolis Girl One Victims of Accident Off Duluth. Rocking of Boat in a swell Causes Upper Deck to Collapse. Rescued Go Into Hysterics and Attempt to Jump Into Water.”; Aug. 14, 1913; p. 1.


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