Friday, November 7, 1919
Four Drowned as Vessel Blows Up
Sch. Gleaner Lifted Bodily
Out of Water at New York
By Gasoline Explosion ---
Two of Eight of Crew Rescued Are Injured
Sch. Gleaner of New
Bedford, formerly of Boston, until recently commanded by Capt. Edward Proctor of
this port, and of late tilefishing out of New York was blown up yesterday afternoon, and
four of her crew are dead and two injured. The Gleaner had
just left Manhattan for New Bedford, and as she neared the Narrows in New York harbor,
hailed a lighter of 69th street, bay Ridge, and pulled up to fill up the gasoline tanks.
The dead are:
Frederick Richard, 32,
single, native of Nova Scotia
Elsid Muise, 27, single, native of Nova Scotia
Moses Surrette, 26, single, native of Yarmouth
Henry Merchant, 35
These men are all well known at this port and
Boston. The first three hailed from Boston, and Merchant from New Bedford.
Capt. Louis Doucette, of New
Bedford, sustained a broken arm and burns about the body, and Eugene LeBlanc, of
Boston was burned severely by the explosions, which were three in number, all in quick
succession. Persons along shore recalled that the first explosion seemed to shoot
the vessel through the water until she was 20 or more feet from the floating gasoline
station. The second explosion sent the vessel completely out of the water and blew
her crew overboard. The third blast blew the ship to pieces, and her burning
wreckage floated off toward the Narrows.
The two injured men were taken to the hospital
aboard the receiving ship and after treatment were later transferred to the marine
hospital at quarantine. The explosions caused such a commotion along shore that
ambulances were called form the Norwegian, Kings County and Coney Island hospitals, but
there was nothing for them to do.
The Gleaner was
built in Essex in 1903. She measured 53 tons gross and 25 net tons and was 58 foot
long, 20 foot wide and 6.6 food depth of hold. The Gleaner will
be remembered as having a narrow escape from being sent to the bottom by the German
submarine that raided the fishing fleet in these waters in August 1917. Capt. Proctor
then in command, managed to elude the big sub and reached this port in safety,
where he brought the news of the disaster to the swordfishermen on George's.