Explosion of the Steamship Cabo Machichaco
As we bave been informed by cable, a disaster unparalleled in modern times occurred at Santander (Old Castilo) on the afternoon of 3rd November.
A Spanish steamer, the Cabo Machichaco, caught fire whilst discharging, alongside the quay, what purported to bo a general cargo, comprising 2000 tons of iron, many cases of petroleum, a few barrels of wine, and some sacks of flour. It appears (states the Home News), however, that she had also on board over 500 cases of dynamite, which exploded, and spread destruction far and wide. Had this portion of her cargo been declared she would not have been permitted to enter the port, but it appears that the captain declared only 20 cases of the explosive, the remainder, whose clandestine destination is still matter of conjecture, being carefully concealed below.
In 1893 vessel Cabo Machichaco, a ship not belonging to Claudio's CTE shipping line, exploded at the harbor in Santander. The explosion was of such magnitude that a thick mooring cable from the ship hit Peñacastillo, 8 km away, killing a person. Santander harbor was destroyed and the death toll reached 500.
At 3 p.m. on the day mentioned a fire broke out in the coal bunkers, and as soon as the alarm was given, care was taken to at once land twenty cases of dynamite which were consigned to Satander, the remainder being consigned to other ports. As the fire could not be got under, it was determined to tow the Cabo Machichaco out into the Bay of Biscay, and let her burn out there. A tug boat was made fast to her for this purpose, but the effort to get her away from her moorings was unsuccessful. It was now an hour and a half since the outbreak of the fire, and although every effort was made to extinguish the flames without success, it does not appear to have occurred to anyone during that time, even to those who knew the nature of the cargo, to scuttle the vessel and thus prevent a disaster which they must by degrees have known to be inevitable.