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DETAILS BY MAIL.
TERRIBLE SCENE OF
ENORMOUS LOSS OP LIFE. LOSSES AMONG SHIPPING.
THURSDAY ISLAND, October 10.
The following details of the typhoon at Hongkong are extracted from Eastern ex- changes to September 22 :
In the short space of two hours this morning (September l8) a typhoon of phenomenal velocity swept over the city, laid a great part in ruins, annihilated the fleet of shipping which had been the colony's pride, and worked unexpected de- strucion to'hundreds of shipping which proudly lay at anchor, but which are now mostly under the face of the waters or lying disabled, useless, and all but worth less wrecks at the wharves. A great fleet of sampans and junks was smashed to atoms, and so vast is the damage that it can never be absolutely determined. Never in the history of the colony has such a calamity overtaken its prosperity, and never did damage and destruction even approaching that wrought by this typhoon send half the colony into the direct distress, and brought the entire shipping population face to face with ab-
The typhoon, came down, with a swift- ness scarcely to be imagined, raged with ferocity, and carried everything before it. There are practically a score of coasting steamers at the bottom of the sea or hope- lessly damaged, two British gunboats dis- abled, and also a French gunboat. Every wharf at Hongkong and Kowloon has been damaged, while of the native craft it is heartrending to speak. At dawn no danger signal was hoisted, but at 8 o'clock the tphoon gun was fired, and the black ball was hoisted on HMS Tamar. Usually it is possible for the smaller craft to make shelter between the time gun being fired and the full fury of the storm, but on this occasion no breathing space was allowed. At 8.30 a.m. the typhoon began to retreat. The native floating population were cut off, and caught in the throes of the storm like sheep in a slaughter pen. The big liners, which had been made as snug as possible, awaited the onslaught with confidence, but little lime had elapsed when it was realised that they would meet probably the worst typhoon 'for many years. At 9 o'clock the wind roared through the colony, the rain had become biting, darts with a sting, and a sixty-mile gale was blowing. The sea swelled rapidly, the foam rising lo the height of the principal houses along the Praya front. Long before this the ferry boats had ceased running, and the cars had stopped, and the stream of pedestrians proceeding to business had disappeared. Trees were uprooted with giant force and flung into the streets, Sedan chairs from the higher levels were being swept from point to point, and the coolies were powerless to withstand the gale, being tossed to and fro like leaves. Gates and shutters were caught up and swept into the streets, and even the lives of those who sought safety in the houses were endangered. On the sea lives were being sacrificed by the score. Sampans and junks were turning bottom upwards all over the harbour, and if they attempted to reach the Praya wall they were caught in bunches, flung against the stone cop- ings, and every one on board given to the insatiable maw of the sea. Nothing could be done to save them, and the people on the land could only look on at the agonis- ing faces of the native crews. It was im- possible to say how many had gone; they simply disappeared in crowds, not one being saved.
One incident occurred about this time. A Chinaman was walking along the Praya near Blake Pier when a gust of wind heaved him into the sea. The Indian con- stables could do nothing to help bim, but a European named Bevan secured a turban from an Indian, who gripped it against a pile, and he dived into the sea. It was a magnificent example of unselfishness. He grabbed the Chinaman by the leg, and together they were pulled to the pier. Bevan was badly bruised by being dashed against the pier stanchions, but the rescue was effected, the spectators being amazed.
It was now seen that the liners and the river boats were faring no better than the smaller craft on the Kowloon side. The Hithcock, a vessel over 2000 tons, was caught up like a cockleshell and swept right over the quay wall, where her stern lies high and dry. The Signal was ashore at West Point ; the Changsha had a list of 45deg; the Sareogan was dashed against the wall, and foundered; the Johanne was under water; the Monteagle of 4000 tons, went ashore ; and three other veseels were aground at the Oil Works; H.M.S. Moorhen was seriously damaged, and two other British gunboats which went out to render assistance had to be beached. A French torpedo boat went ashore, and many other vessels were damaged.
It is proving a most difficult task to collect information, but later reports state that not a single vessel in the harbour escaped more or less damage. Amongst those who lost their lives was the Rev Joseph Charles Hoare, Bishop of Vic- toria, Hongkong, who was on the junk which he generally used when on his round of pastoral visits. The vessel was struck by the typhoon, capsized, and smashed up, only the master being saved Search was-made for the missing body, but resulted unsuccessfully.
Over 1000 bodies were recovered, but the cabled statements are verified' that the number of lives lost totalled about 10,000. The number of junks destroyed at Hongkong and Kowloon totalled 1052, and about a dozen yachts and house boats
The steamer Kumano Maru had an ex- perience in the gale while at Hongkong, tout sustained no damage. Captain Hunter states that there have been six typhoons
/.t Hongkong this season.