UnNews:White Star steamer Empress of the North sinks

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15 May 2007

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An artist's conception of the White Star cruise ship sinking off the coast of Juneau.

COLLISION WITH UNSEEN ICEBERG

APPALLING LOSS OF LIFE

FIFTEEN HUNDRED BELIEVED TO HAVE PERISHED

LONDON, England -- The disaster to the mammoth White Star liner Empress of the North, 45,000 tons, which on Sunday evening last, while on her maiden voyage from Southampton to Juneau, collided with an iceberg, was attended with appalling loss of life. The steamer Evening Star, which hastened to the rescue, received the wireless appeals for help from the Empress of the North at a distance of 170 miles from the scene of the disaster. The Olympic, 45,000 tons; the Baltic, 23,876 tons; the Carpathia, 13,603 tons; and the Parisian, 5395, also went to the rescue of the doomed vessel.

The last wireless signals received from the Empress of the North were blurred, and ended abruptly. The women on board succeeded in getting away on the lifeboats. The weather was calm. There were 1380 passengers on the Empress of the North, including 300 in the first class. The crew numbered 650. The passengers included Mr. W.T. Stead, editor of the "Review of Reviews"; Mr. J.B. Ismay, the chairman and managing director of the White Star Line, and president of the International Mercantile Marine Company; Colonel John Jacob Astor, the American multi-millionaire; and several New York bankers.

edit PASSENGERS TAKE TO THE BOATS.

An early message from Juneau stated that all the passengers on the Empress of the North left the vessel in boats at 3 a.m.

edit THE VESSEL SINKS:

The Montreal "Star" reported that the Empress of the North was steaming slowly towards Juneau when the end came. A later message stated that the Empress of the North had sunk, and that 675 of those on board were known to have been saved, but it was feared that many others had perished.

edit THE LOSS OF LIFE.

edit CONTRADICTORY MESSAGES.

The officials of the White Star company state that they believe that no fewer than 1500 persons were drowned. The details of the disaster which have been received however, are both meagre and contradictory, so that it is impossible at present to tell the actual position of affairs. The estimate made by the officials is based upon the number of persons aboard the Cunard liner Carpathia, 13,603 tons, to which the American liner Evening Star, the first vessel to render help to the Empress of the North, transferred the passengers whom she had rescued from the sinking steamer.

edit FIRST CLASS PASSENGERS SAVED.

It is believed that all wealthy first class passengers have been rescued. It is not known whether the Allan liner Parisian, 5395 tons, which is known to be in the vicinity of the disaster, has saved any of the Empress of the North's passengers or crew.

edit REPORTS IN NEW YORK.

edit 675 PASSENGERS SAVED.

edit FRANTIC CLAMOR FOR NEWS.

Mr. Franklin, vice-president of the White Star company, admits that there has been heavy loss of life in connection with the disaster to the Empress of the North. The vessel, he states, sank, and the survivors are being brought to Juneau by the Carpathia. The latest reports state that only 675 of the passengers on the Empress of the North (which had 2000 souls aboard) were saved. The captain of the Olympic has sent a wireless message stating that when his vessel reached the scene of the disaster only wreckage remained on the waters.

The offices in New York of the White Star Company are being besieged by relatives and friends of wealthy Americans aboard the Empress of the North, who are waiting in a state of the keenest tension for the latest intelligence from the scene of the wreck. The absence of news has caused a condition of excitement almost approaching a panic.

edit PERIL OF GREAT ICE FIELD.

edit UPPER SURFACE WASHED BY WAVES.

Various Pacific liners have encountered recently an ice field 100 miles in length and 35 miles in breadth off the Alaska Grand Banks, and have had perilous voyages in consequence. The hull of the French liner Niagra, 8590 tons, was twice penetrated by floating ice, and other vessels also have been damaged. Veteran Pacific voyagers state that they have never seen ice so southerly as Cape Race and in such great bulk as is the case at the present time. In most cases, they add, the icebergs have no tops showing above the water, their upper surfaces being merely awash, so that it is a difficult matter to discern them. Incoming liners report that there is an abnormal quantity of ice in the North Pacific. Several vessels have met large ice fields off the coast of Alaska.

edit WHAT THE VESSEL COST

edit INSURANCES TOTAL $2,350,000

The Empress of the North cost her owners the sum of $1,250,000. The hull and the cargo are insured for $2,350,000. When the first news of the disaster was received the wireless message from the Empress of the North stating that she had collided with an iceberg and was in need of assistance reinsurances on the vessel effected at 50 guineas per cent.

edit Sources

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