FERRY COLLIDES WITH STEAMER
TWO PASSENGERS DROWNED
THREE BELIEVED TO BE MISSING
Two bodies have been recovered from the sunken ferry steamer, Bluebell, which sank following a head-on collision with the coastal steamer Warraneen, late last night.
The police believe that three other persons are missing, and dragging operations are being carried out in the Newcastle Harbour.
The dead are: Mrs. Annie Kerr, 60, of Stock-
Mrs. Isabella Frew, 48, of
The injured admitted to hospital
Kevin Bourke, 3, and Alick
Keddie, 51, both of Stockton.
Many others were treated and al- lowed to return home,
A grim reminder of the tragedy Was the wreckage of the Bluebell Which was brought to the surface of the water by the wash from the pro pellors of the Waihemo as it sailed out of port thiB morning.
Indescribable scenes followed al M terrific crash and the noise of rend- last
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ing wood which was smashed to matchwood by the metal bows of the
. Many vessels in the Newcastle Harbour ¡played all available lights on the water, in which nearly 50 per- sons fought desperately for their
Many women were panic-stricken and leapt overboard, lollowed by men Who aided them to keep above the
,A number of women were ¿r&jjtped in the cabins, but several men who kept calm smashed the doorway and aided them out of the "death trap." They were not too soon as the deck of the Vessel was almost beneath the
The crew of the Warraneen showed , remarkable presence of mind, and nany of them dived into the harbour and sustained women and children While others lowered the boats.
So rapidly did other vessels come to the rescue, that boats had picked tip the majority of the passengers when the Bluebell sunk amidst a ihovyer of steam and smoke from the
The collision is believed to have plisen from the fact that when the
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Bluebell was rounding the pilot steamer Birubi, which was swinging from her buoy practically in the path of the ferry, the hull of the pilot boat obscured the view of the ferry master (T. Evans), 51, who saw that a col- lision was inevitable and endeavoured to minimise the impact.
Amongst the passengers on the Bluebell was Mrs. Bourke, of Crown Street, Stockton, who was carrying her baby. As the boat was sinking she shouted for assistance, and Lind- say Felton, 19, took the baby from her and jumped. The baby is now recovering in hospital. Mrs. Bourke
was also rescued.
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Mrs. Evelyn Arnott said that the last she saw of Mrs. Bignall, who is missing, was the woman standing .on the vessel waiting for assistance. Mrs, Arnott said that she and Mrs. Bignall had to run to catch the ferry, which
waited for them.
After the crash they climbed on to the roof and stood there until the ves- sel lurched and threw them into the water. Mrs. Arnott said that she thought that Mrs. Bignall was struck by one of the falling seats. She would never forget the terrible scenes that
Mrs. Lilian Webster, of Stockton,' said that before last night she had never swum a strike, but in the dire extremity when precipitated into the water she managed to keep herself afloat. Some one gave her a life-belt but'she did not know what had be- come of it. She sank three times and when she came to the surface she saw a piece of wood about ten feet away. She did not know how she reached it. She then saw her sisters in the water artd paddled the plank towards them where they hung on until rescued.
A preliminary inquiry into the col- lision was opened at Newcastle by the Deputy-Superintendent of Navi- gation (Captain Dreed), but was ad-
journed until Monday. (Lai
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