LOSS OF MALOJA
BOUND FOR INDIA
147 PEOPLE PERISH.
IVICTIMS MOSTLY LASCARS
LONDON, Feb. 28.
The P. and O. Company's R.M.S. Maloja (12,431 tons), with passengers and a valu- able cargo for India, struck a mine between Dover and Folkestone, and sank on Sunday morning.
There were 411 people on board. It is estimated that 264 persons were saved. The majority of the 147 who have not been ac- counted for, and are believed to have perished, were lascars. The native crew numbered 203, and only 86 were saved. There were 140 passengers on board, nearly all of whom are safe.
Captain C. E. Irving, R.N.R., commander of the Maloja, and all his officers, as well as the members of the engine-room staff, were saved. The captain was the last to leave the ship. He did not get into a boat, and was swimming for half an hour before he was picked up
Deaths from Exhaustion.
The weather was intensely cold, and some deaths from exhaustion occurred on board the rescue vessels.
Most of those who were saved were taken off in rafts.
44 Bodies Recovered.
Forty-four bodies have been recovered, and temporary additional mortuary accommoda- tion is necessary at the point where the hosts land.
Valuable Cargo Lost.
The Maloja carried a valuable cargo, and this, of course, is a total loss.
Rescue Steamer Sunk.
Half on hour after the Maloja struck the steamer Empress of Fort William (2,181 tons), owned by the Canada Steam- ship Lines, while going to the rescue of the Maloja's passengers, also struck a mine, and sank. The Empress of Fort William was on her way to Dunkirk with a cargo of coal. All on board this vessel were saved.
Captain Irving's Report.
"Crew Behaved Splendidly."
Captain Irving, in his report of the disas- ter, says: --
"The Maloja struck a mine be- tween Dover and Folkestone. Her after-part was blown up. I tried to beach her, but a high sea was running. The engine-room became full of water, and the liner sank about half an hour after striking
the mine. I believe almost all the passengers were saved. All the boats
had been swung out before the ac-
cident occurred, to be ready in the event of an emergency. Both the white and the coloured members of
the crew behaved splendidly."
"Like the Roar of a Big Gun."
"The sound of the explosion was like the roar of a big gun," said the ship's printer to an interviewer. He added that the falls of one boat jammed. An officer cut the boat free, and it dropped 30ft.
A tug picked up the pilot, who left the Maloja off Deal. He says that the boats of the liner were swung out in readiness for an emergency. Many of the passengers pos-
sessed private life-belts.
Explosion Heard on Shore.
A violent explosion was heard at Dover at 11 o'clock in the morning. It attracted crowds to the sea front. They saw the Maloja two miles distant in difficulties. In response to "S.O.S." messages scores of patrol boats and trawlers appeared quickly from all directions, and motor-boats, tugs, and launches from Dover promptly raced to
The Maloja soon began to settle down at the stern, where she was damaged by the explosion, until the seas were almost level with the bridge. She then took a heavy list to starboard, gradually rolling until the starboard side was submerged, and the decks were perpendicular. Thus she remained for sometime. Suddenly she wallowed right over, and completely capsized, show- ing a section of her keel for some minutes. She disappeared in a cloud of steam.
The Work of Rescue.
In the meantime, all sorts of craft were steadily proceeding with rescue work. The list prevented the launching of boats on the port side, and those on the starboard side jammed. Most of the survivors were taken direct from the sloping decks aboard smaller craft.
The watchers ashore had another thrill- ing experience half an hour later, when the Empress of Fort William sunk half a mile distant. The forepart of that vessel re- mained above the sea for some time, the stern being submerged. Suddenly the vessel blew up, and disappeared.
Captain Shepherd, of the Empress of Fort William, says :-- " We left the Downs in the morning. The Maloja, which was astern, soon overhauled and passed us, on account of her superior speed. We saw the Maloja off Dover, apparently held up, awaiting ex- amination. A patrol boat gave her per- mission to pass. We did not hear an ex- plosion, and were amazed to notice the Maloja down by the stern. We heard a loud blast from a whistle, and immediately proceed at full speed to the rescue. We were still a long way astern when we saw the Maloja's boats lying against the sides. They could not be lowered owing to the list. The passengers were lined up on deck, re- minding us of the picture of the sinking of the German cruiser Blucher in the North Sea fight."
Captain Shepherd took a snapshot of the scene. Half an hour later he lost his own vessel, and all his possessions, but saved his entire crew of 20. He expresses the opinion that the vessels which endeavoured to rescue the people on the Maloja kept too far away from the liner. If the collier had pos- sessed the speed he would have run the Empress of Fort William alongside, but his vessel was still a mile astern of the Maloja when she also hit a mine. The Empress of Fort William sank 40 minutes later. " I saw many people standing on the decks of the Maloja," added Captain Shepherd, "ap- parently they were unable to get into the
One boat which was in the water drifted underneath another boat and capsized. It is believed that only two of the occupants of the boat escaped.
Stories of Survivors.
The survivors from the Maloja were landed at the Admiralty Pier. Some who were injured were transferred to a hospital
ship. The remainder were sent to London
by special train.
Passengers, who in the course of inter- views, say:-- " The Maloja left the Thames
on Saturday morning. The explosion blew in the sides of the second saloon and knocked several passengers, who were on deck, off their feet. It is believed that a number of people were injured. Water flowed in immediately and swamped the in- terior. No panic occurred, though the native crew were terrified, and one lascar had to be knocked on the head with an oar to prevent his entering a boat before lady passengers. The absence of panic was due to the nearness of the land, and to the won- derful promptitude with which scores of rescuers surrounded the Maloja on all sides. The weather was fair, a fairly heavy sea was running, and a storm was evidently coming up."
A Pitiful Sight.
A pitiful sight was provided at the arri- val of the survivors in a special train at Vic- toria street. Women tearfully clasped their children. One elderly woman had a hand bandaged, and she explained that it had been crushed in a boat. Many of the men were wrapped in blankets, wearing only pyjamas and slippers. A procession of nearly 100 lascars passed along the plat- form, the natives being dejected and silent. They were holding blankets tightly round their bodies. The teeth of some of them were chattering. Their woollen headgear was in every colour. One lascar limped painfully, groaning at every step he took, leaning on the arm of a railway porter. An- other was carried between two railway men. Some of the natives borrowed cigar- ettes from the onlookers, who readily re- sponded to the requests.
No Australians Aboard.
As far as can be ascertained at present, there were no Australians or New Zealand cra on board the Maloja.
Several children were blown to pieces by the explosion.
A child was seen alone on a raft and rescued. The fate of its mother or whoever it was who fastened on on the raft is not
THREE MORE VESSELS LOST
All Sunk by Mines.
The loss of three more steamers through striking mines was announced on Sunday
The s.s. Mecklenburg (2,885 tons) has been mined and sunk while on her way from an English port to Flushing. Telegrams
from Amsterdam state that all of the pas- sengers and crew were rescued. It is believed in London that the mails carried by the vessel were also saved.
The British steamer Dido, 4,769 tons (owned by T. Wilson, Sons, and Co. Ltd. and registered at Hull), struck a mine at the mouth of the Humber, and was ren- dered helpless. A gale was raging at the time, and the Dido was driven ashore.
Twenty-six lives wera lost in connection with the loss of the third of these steamers
the French vessel Trignac, 2,375 tons. She struck a mine in the North Sea and
[A Photograph of the Maloja will be found on Page 5.]
COMPANY'S LARGEST VESSEL.
Built in 1911 at Messrs. Harland and Wolff's yards Belfast, Ireland, the Ma- loja was the newest and largest vessel in the P. and O. fleet. Her gross tonnage was 12,430 and the dimensions were : -- Length, 575ft.; breadth 62ft 9in.; and depth 39ft. E ngines with an indicated horse power of 14,000 propelled the vessel at a rate of 18½
knots an hour. The crew numbered 337 and the steamer with a full complement of passengers would carry over 1000 persons -- the population of a small town.
The richness of the fittings and the num- ber of appliances for the comfort of pas- sengers attracted considerable attention when the vessel first came to Melbourne in March 1912 and whenever she was in port the Maloja was always besieged with visi- tors. Accommodation was provided on the steamer for 418 first saloon and 212 second saloon passengers.
Fitted with refrigerating machinery on the carbonic-anhydride principle the Ma- loja was specially qualified to carry fruit, space being provided for 40,000 cases. In the apple season the Maloja was always requisitioned to take a full cargo away from Hobart.
The Maloja was a sister ship to the Me- dina the vessel which conveyed their Ma- jesties King George and Queen Mary to the Indian Coronation Dunbar in 1911.
The vessel is named after a small Swiss village in the Alps between Engar- din, in Switzerland, and Como, in Italy. Though the village is in Switzerland the name has a Spanish pronunciation. A soft sound is given to the " j" the name being pronounced "Malo-ya."
OFFICERS OF MALOJA
According to Mr. L. Plummer agent for the Maloja the officers on board were : -- Chief officer, Mr. C. D. Forbes, R.N.R.; second officer, W. F. Pocock; third, S. Dendrino; surgeon E. Kennington; nurse, F.W. Burgin; purser, F. W. Burgess; chief steward, J. C. Chapman; chief engineer, W. H. Whyte; second, H. Stratton; third, W. C. Nicholls; fourth, F. Granger; super- numerary, H. Asker; refrigerator engineers, R.E. Ferguson and K. W. Freeman.
Captain C.E. Irving R.N.R. was in charge of the Maloja on her last trip from Australia, the regular master (Captain H. S. Bradshaw) being on leave. The Maloja left Melbourne on December 28 last and arrived in London early in February.