Theano-Captain George Pearson

Captain George Pearson described the ordeal of the sinking of the Theano…

“A rock suddenly loomed up directly in front of us, and although we at once reversed our engines, we had discovered our peril too late. After several futile attempts to release the ship, we manned the lifeboats and awaited developments. Time after time the waves threw the stern of the vessel against the rock, and it seemed that every lunge of the craft would be its last. Holes were knocked into its side and it was otherwise damaged. In this precarious position we were kept for more than 2 hours, when the boat began to fill and rapidly settle. The sailors behaved admirably. We held a hurried consultation and decided to cast our fate on the lake in lifeboats. It was almost certain death to remain with the ship, and we were not likely to survive in the smaller craft. There were 9 in our boat and 11 in the other. Once clear of the steamer we hoisted a sail and went to work with oars. Each lifeboat carried a light, and although we managed to keep ours burning we lost sight of the other within an hour of the time we set sail.

The trip across Thunder Bay was the most terrible I have ever experienced. One minute we were 20 feet below the surface and the next we would be on the crest of a gigantic wave, with the bow of our boat pointing downwards. Again a wave would break over us, drenching every man to the skin. At times it was impossible to see the men in the opposite end of the boat and it was only during the lulls, which came infrequently that we were able to assure ourselves that no one had been washed overboard. Numbed, exhausted, and almost overcome with exposure we arrived in Port Arthur about 11:00 AM. I am sure we could not have survived another 6 hours. “

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