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The Gleaner


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.


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