Wreck of the Florizel

The sailors were washed about the deck, frantically clawing at anything that came to hand to keep from going overboard. Some were taken over the side.

Aft of the smokestack on the port side, the steel lifeboat, still in its chocks, was torn from the deck, carried over the smokestack, and dropped athwart the deck between the broken skylight over the social hall and the starboard rail. There it stayed, securely jammed.

Captain Kean was hit by a piece of wreckage and, with a broken leg and bleeding head, was swept toward the rail on the starboard side.

At the same time the whistle stopped and the Florizel suddenly was plunged into darkness.

Cassie Brown, A Winter’s Tale: The Wreck of the Florizel (Doubleday, 1976).

The Newfoundland steamer Florizel made agonizingly slow progress through sish ice and heavy winds as she made her way down the stormy Newfoundland coast in February 1918, bound for Halifax and New York. She made just forty miles in nine hours. She struck just north of Cape Race, and for 27 hours, in full sight of shore, passengers and crew struggled to save themselves. Of 138 souls aboard, just 17 passengers and 27 crew survived.

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Bruce Wishart
Whimsies. Sometimes about writing.
Sometimes about folklore. Sometimes
about the sea, or life on the coast.
And sometimes not.