Wreck of the SS Mohegan
The Atlantic Transport Company's steamer Mohegan, formerly the Cleopatra of the Wilson and Furness-Leyland Line, which left London for New York yesterday with 50 passengers and a crew numbering 150, is ashore off the Lizard, between The Manacles and The Lowlands. It is though that there has been a great loss of life.
According to a dispatch just received from Falmouth, out of the 200 persons constituting the passengers and crew of the Mohegan, only thirty-one have been saved.
Unable to take to the boats, many passengers and crew went astern to the taffrail and were washed overboard. Fifteen passengers and crew climbed into the rigging and were saved because the masts remained above water when the hull settled. One of the engineers was washed overboard but swam back and climbed onto the funnel, burning his hands badly on the steam pipe as he did so. And one of the greasers even managed to swim three miles to Coverack. Two thirds of those on board were not so lucky. Among the 106 lives lost were those of Captain Griffiths, Assistant Engineer William Kinley, and all of the other officers.
The Mohegan ran onto the Manacles, embedding the rudder into the rock and tearing the hull open. The ship had struck Vase Rock, and now drifted onto the Maen Varses reef. Dinner was being served at the time, and many of the passengers were initially unaware of the severity of the accident. The engine room was almost immediately flooded to three feet. The steam gauges broke and the crew rushed to the deck. The ship was plunged into darkness soon after. With the loss of power the passengers made their way onto the deck, where attempts were made to launch the lifeboats.
Captain Griffith had ordered the fitting of a high second rail inboard of the lifeboats to prevent their being rushed in the event of an emergency, but this now hampered the launching of the boats. Further problems were encountered when the ship listed to port then heavily to starboard. Only two lifeboats were launched, of which one was virtually swamped and the other capsized. The ship rolled and sank 12 minutes after hitting the rocks, with the loss of 106 lives. Captain Griffith, Assistant Engineer William Kinley and all of the officers went down with the ship. Only her funnel and four masts remained above water. The Porthoustock lifeboat Charlotte was launched in 30 minutes and rescued most of the survivors from the wreck and the water; 44 persons were saved.