Explosion Heard Last night off Horse Island

            A message to the Minister of Marine and Fisheries, received this forenoon indicates that one of the sealing fleet, presumed to be the S.S. Viking had met with disaster off Horse Islands, last night.

                        Message from Operator

            The message from the operator is as follows:-      

            “At 9 o’clock last night heard a terrible explosion.  Early this morning the wreckage of a burning steamer sighted about 8 miles east of here.  Also saw men traveling on ice towards island.  No particulars yet.”

                        Asked Further Particulars

            The Minister of Marine and Fisheries on receipt of the foregoing sent the following message to the operator:

            “Keep me fully advised also particulars as soon as any men arrive. Also state if likely any men unable to reach the island safely.  Also what chance of men being cared for on the island, and what chance they have of getting to mainland.”

            It is learned that the Minister of Marine had received several messages which confirmed the first message and gave particulars which the Minister would not disclose in time for today’s issue.

                        Survivors Arrive At Island

            That a disaster has happened is apparent from the fact that when the news was announced in the House this afternoon adjournment was taken immediately so that attention could be given by the Government to any needs that might arise later.

            The message intimates, it is learned that the ice is moving off and that some survivors had arrived at the island telling that a number of the crew had been seriously maimed by the explosion.

            The Prime Minister, however, states that this information is not contained in any official message.


            The following are the official messages received and sent:-

            HORSE ISLANDS, March 16.  At 9 p.m. last night heard terrible explosion.  Early this morning wreckage of burning steamer sighted about 8 miles east of here.  Also men traveling on ice towards Island.  No particulars at hand yet.  Ice in bad condition.  Heavy sea.  Wind blowing off shore.  First crowed men may reach Island others have little chance.  Making very slow progress. People only have sufficient supplies for selves.  Also no medical assistance here; no chance getting to main land.


                        To Operator, Horse Islands.

            “Keep me advised fully further particulars as soon as any men arrive there, also if any men likely not be able reach island safely, also what chance men being taken care of on island and what chance getting to mainland.”

                                                                                    H.B.C. Lake.


The S.S. Viking is in command of Captain Abram Kean Jr.  She carries a crew of 138 men with two stowaways.  Three New Yorkers.  Varick Frissell. A.E. Penrod, and Harry Sargent, who are engaged making the Paramount talking picture. “White Thunder,” left here on the ship to get some scenes to complete the picture.

            Most of the crew of the Viking belong to Brigus.

            On receipt of the news of the tragedy arrangements were made to have the ocean-going tug Foundation Franklin and S.S. Sagona proceed to the scene.  The former ship, with Dr. Blackler and several nurses, left port at 2:45p.m. Captain Burgess has gone as pilot.

The Sagona, in charge of Capt. Jacob Kean, is expected to sail at 5 p.m., after taking bunker coal and necessary medical supplies, doctors and nurses.

            It will take the S.S. Sagona about 24 hours to reach the scene of the disaster.

            The two stowaways on the ship are Edward Cronin, Plymouth Road and Michael Gardner, of Fleming Street.

            The S.S. Viking was the last of the Northern fleet to leave port on the afternoon of Monday, the 9th of March, delay being caused waiting the arrival of some crew from Brigus and vicinity.  Going north, the Viking ran into heavy sea and was obliged to shelter at Pool’s Island for two days and nights, until the weather moderated.  After leaving Pool’s Island, Bowring Bros. did not hear anything further of the ship until Saturday, when she gave her position on Friday at 6 p.m. as off Shag Rock.  On Saturday night the ship was reported off Horse Harbor.

The Evening Telegram, March 16, 1931

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