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Six Fishermen Drowned

 

March 10, 1913

Fear Six Fishermen Drowned
Revenue Cutter Cruised Bay in Vain
Since Thursday Night Gale.
Men Belonged to T Wharf Italian Small Boat Fleet

Grave fears are felt for the safety of six Italian fishermen who left T wharf, Boston, for Plymouth last Thursday evening in small gasoline fishing boats and are believed to have been blown out to sea and perished.  The revenue cutter Itaska which was dispatched to search for them Saturday afternoon has returned without finding a vestige of the missing boats.  Friends and relatives of the fishermen have given up hope of their recovery.

The dories were captained by their owners, Gaetano Randazo, Salvatore Sala and another whose name was given as Giuseppi.   With Randazo was his son.  Each of the other boats had a crew of one whose are not positively known by those of their compatriots who request that search be made.  It was the intention of the skippers to proceed to Plymouth, set trawls off that harbor and make a haul during the night, returning to T wharf in season for opening of the market at 7 a. m.

A light breeze prevailed while the little craft were leaving Boston harbor, and there was only a moderate sea.  By the time they were off Cohasset, however, a heavy northwest gale was encountered, with sudden drop in temperature.   None of the boats could cope with a wind of such velocity, their motors developing under 10 horsepower and giving a speed of six or seven miles an hour under most favorable conditions.

When the gale broke the skippers undoubtedly tried to head up for the beach, but found it impossible to make headway, it is believed.  With the gale came ice, forming where spray touched.  Decks of the boats offered a fair target for the accumulation, which still further hampered progress in the right direction.  No place aboard the dories afforded shelter except a little after compartment overcrowded by the motor.  The helmsman was exposed to the elements from his position in the companion to this compartment.

Though nothing definite is known as to what happened to these men who flirted with death in leaving harbor with the gale brewing, it is thought they decided when it was found to be impossible to gain the  beach, to anchor.  Ground tackle could not hold under pounding of wind and sea and the boats were quickly drifting out toward Wellfleet a matter of 30 miles away in the bight of Cape Cod bay.  Such drift would be looked for under conditions then prevailing.

As the boats drove away from land they became top heavy with ice and the sea grew rougher - too steep for the cockleshells to successfully weather with ice gradually settling them beyond the margin of safety.  Ten miles off Cohasset the bay was a raging cauldron with vapor streaming from its surface.  No boat of 25 feet had any business there at such a time, say seafarers.  beyond, the flinty sand of Billingsgate shoal thundered with cresting surf - if the dories managed to live to get that far.

The Itaska was intercepted by wireless while steaming form Provincetown to Vineyard Haven, and Capt. Winram sent word that he would scour the ocean over an area into which the fishermen might have drifted.

Fishermen returning to port say that an exceptionally heavy sea was running in the bay Friday evening.  Some of the T wharf skippers expressed the opinion yesterday that even if the men were not washed overboard, they stood a small chance of escaping death.  On the other hand there is a slight chance that the fishermen might have been picked up by some passing liner, and are safe on board.

 

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