Recovery of the Body o£ I Captain Fraser. I
At the instance of tha Pacific Insurance Company the brig Iserbrook, which was burnt and scuttled in the harbour some week's since, has been pumped out by the workmen of Rountree's Dock. When the vessel was dry to the cabin floor, a party of water police was sent to recover, if
possible, the body of Captain Fraser. After a search it was discovered in a horrible condition, and the body could only be identified by means of the clothes that remained on it. An inquest was held yesterday, at the Brecknock Arms Hotel, when the following evidence was given :— James Hampshire, late chief officer of the Iserbrook, who was on board with Captain Fraser when the vessel caught fire, stated that shortly after 4 o'clock on the afternoon of the 21st De cember he went on board the Iserbrook. and found Captain Fraser on board with a sailmaker named Barron, whom the captain introduced to Hampshire as a friend of his, saying that there was some rum in the store-room, and they would get some for him (Barron). They then took off one of the main hatches
and the three men went down into the store-room. When they got below, finding it dark, the captain and mate struck matches and went to a tier of casks behind the mainmast, one of which had been bored and was loosely corked. Captain Frazer remarked, ' This must be molasses,' and pulled tbe cork out, and immediately a quantity of rum ran out on to the deck. Hampshire seeing this put his finger into the cask, but the hole being large, the spirit still continued to run out, and in the confusion one of the men dropped a match into the spilt liquor, which immediately took fire. Both men attempted to stamp out the fiame, but were un -ble to do so, and Hampshire's arm and hand were so scorched that he had to withdraw his finger from the bung-hole, and, apprehending that the rum would I blaze up, Barron and Hampshire rushed on deck, I Hampshire falling into the hold as he endeavoured to leave the storeroom. On the latter reaching the deck a few seconds afterwards, he found Barron alone. Both men went to the hatchway and shouted the cap tain's name several times, but without effect, and then an explosion took place, and flames and smoke made their appearance at the hatchway. The em ployees of Rountree's wharf seeing the flames came on board, and removed the vessel from the wharf. Witness never saw Captain Frazer alive afterwards, but according to his belief the body he had seen at the deadhouse, in the presence of the coroner and jury, was that of Joseph Fraser, late captain of the brig Iserrbrook. This evidence was fully corroborated by that of John Barron, a sailmaker, residing at Bal main, who had gone on board the vessel at the invita tion of the captain to have a glass of grog. The jury found that the body lying at the deadhouse was that of Joseph Fraser, late captain of the Iserbrook ; and, further, that his death had resulted accidentally from injuries received while drawing rum. The following rider was appended to the verdict :— ' The jury are of opinion that the delay in taking effective steps for the recovery of the body is highly censurable.'