Twenty Dead Reported

            From the messages received last night of the tragic disaster that overtook the sealing ship Viking at nine o’clock on Sunday night, it is only too evident that many of the ship’s company had sustained serious injuries and that a considerable number lost their lives.  The first message giving any indication of the number of deaths was received direct by The Telegram from the operator at Horse Islands yesterday afternoon.  It reads as follows:

            “At 9 p.m. Sunday night heard terrible explosion.  Sighted this a.m. steamer on fire twelve miles east of here.  Men are continually landing, around twenty dead, many injured, will advise later.”

            In the last message received by Mr. Clyde Lake, Minister of Marine and Fisheries, last night it was said that two parties numbering about fifty had reached the shore and that another party appearing to be assisting injured men were approaching.  It was also learned that Captain Abram Kean Jr., was still on the ice in an injured condition and that among those unaccounted for were Navigating Officer, Captain Walter Kennedy, who was of the schooner J.W. Miller which was lost recently, Wireless Operator Clayton King, W.J. Roach who was acting doctor, steward S. Mullett, and one of the cooks.

            No mention was made of either Varick Frissell, A.E. Penrod, or Harry Sargent, the three Americans who were on board engaging in securing additional films for the Paramount picture “White Thunder.”

Cause Of Explosion Unexplained

            The men who reached the island last night were in such a state of shock and exhaustion that they could give no estimate of the dead nor could they account for the explosion the general opinion is that the gun powder magazine blew up.  This was situated in the after part of the ship, and it appears that the stern was completely demolished.  As the officers quarters were situated aft, it is feared that they were among the heaviest suffers.  Captain Kean, according to the message received this morning, was on the bridge at the time and sustained his injuries by being flung for a distance of twelve feet to the ice.

            The relief ships Foundation Franklin reported this morning that she expected to reach the scene by one p.m.  The Sagona passed Cabot Island near Cape Freels at eight this morning, every effort is being made from Horse Island to assist in the rescue work, and with the recovery of the survivors from their exhaustion, there will no doubt be many ready hands available this morning to engage in helping ashore those still on the ice and in giving first aid to the injured.

The Evening Telegram, March 18, 1931

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