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Given Up, Return Safe


Friday, September 12, 1914

Fishermen Given Up As Lost Return

Two of Crew of N. F. Craft Picked Up After Being Adrift
for Three Days Without Food or Water

Two Newfoundland fishermen for whom memorial services were held last Sunday in Grand Bank, N. F., in the belief that they had been lost at sea, were brought to Boston yesterday aboard the British steamer Davisian, which made port form Liverpool.

Instead of having been adrift in a dory for eighteen days, as a wireless message from the Davisian indicated, the men on arrival were happy to relate that their drift in the dory was limited to three days. They were taken aboard the Davisian from the Portuguese fishing schooner Senhora Du Gui, which had picked them up 12 days previously.

The fishermen John Tibo, 42 years old, and Dennis Drake, 41, were members of the crew of the schooner Winifred Lee, which sailed from Grand Bank, N. F., late in August for Qureo fishing bank. The third day on the grounds Drake and Tibo set out to haul trawls, both in one dory. Fog shut in and they were unable to locate their schooner. The fog continued for practically the three days they were adrift, clearing on the night of the third day. About 11 o’clock that night they sighted a vessel’s lights at some distance. Being without means of signaling at night, the men rowed as hard as their exhausted condition would permit, and after an hour’s hard pull drew alongside the vessel. Which turned out to be the Senhora Du Gui. Fortunately for the fishermen, the schooner was practically becalmed; had there been any wind to speak of they would not have been able to overtake her.

After going astray from their own schooner in the fog, Tibo and Drake rigged a small leg-o-mutton sail and took turns rowing in the hope of finding the Winifred Lee. With the passage of time, however, they hoped only for rescue by any vessel, and conserved their strength as much as possible. The dory carried a small quantity of drinking water and a small tin of food. During their first day adrift the men concluded to use the water very sparingly and not to touch the food in the tin for as long a time as possible, not knowing how long they might be adrift. The tin of food was still unopened when they were picked up, but their supply of water was practically exhausted.

Aboard the Portuguese schooner, hailing from Oporto, the fishermen were made as comfortable as possible. The schooner was on a salt fishing trip, and her skipper told them in broken English that unless it was possible to transfer them to a passing vessel, they would have to remain with the schooner until she made her home port, as he could not interrupt the trip to put them ashore. During the 12 days aboard the Senhora Du Gui no vessel was sighted until the Davisian hove into view last Sunday. And the Davisian was sighted only because the schooner happened to be on the extreme southerly end of the Grand Banks.

Signals were set in the schooner’s rigging and in response to these the Davisian, in command of Capt. James Trickey, ran alongside and took Tibo and Drake aboard. Soon afterwards a wireless message carried news of their safety ashore. Officers and crew of the Davisian contributed to a fund for the two fishermen, and this was swelled by additional donations after the steamer docked at East Boston.

Arrangements were made by the British consul for the transportation of Tibo and Drake to Grand Bank, N. F., where Tibo’s wife and three children and Drake’s wife and four children await their return.


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