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FOXTON AND PORANGAHAU BOATING DISASTERS
SUNDAY 22 OCTOBER 1911

From – Evening Post 23 October 1911 p7

SAD OCCURANCE AT FOXTON
EIGHT PEOPLE LOST THEIR LIVES
BOAT SWAMPED CLOSE TO SHORE
ONLOOKERS HORROR STRUCK.

On Sunday 22 October 1911 a large party from Palmerston North motored to Te Wharangi, as the seaside resort at Foxton Beach is called with the intention of going for an excursion on Mr Percy ROBERT’s “oil launch.”

At first it was deemed too rough for the women and children but after the men returned from a cruise at around 11.30am it was decided to take the rest of the party onboard. The launch was held in the tideway while Percy ROBERT and Eugene GROVE went to bring the women and children aboard. The small flat-bottomed dinghy they used was unsuitable to take ten people the three chains to the launch as when everyone was on board there were only a ‘couple of inches of freeboard.’ The rush of the tide swept the boatload past the launch and out into the rougher water. The boat quickly became swamped throwing all on board into the water.

From shore Messrs W YOUNG and George LANGLEY immediately launched another flat bottomed boat and set out for those in the water. They managed to rescue Mr ROBERT’s. Another small boat was launched by Captain John MOUNSEY and Mr KIRK and they succeeded in rescuing Mr GROVE. The women and children had all disappeared and were swept seawards.

They were :-

ARNOLD Florence Late of Nelson, of Messrs C M ROSS and Co.s staff. Second daughter of Mr W ARNOLD of Spring Grove, Nelson. 24 years
GROVE Agnes Isabella Wife of Mr Eugene GROVE, motor expert of Messrs DUNK & PRINGLE. Daughter of Mr John MEAD of Wai-iti, Nelson. 34 years
GROVE John Hardy - 3 years
GROVE Rex Eugene - 6 years
O'SULLIVAN Grace Daughter of Major J O'SULLIVAN, director of Equipment Stores, Defence Department, Wellington 22 years
ROBERT Douglas - 8 years
ROBERT Fanny Wife of Mr Percy ROBERT, uniform and regalia manufacturer, Main St (P North) -
ROBERT Leslie - 18 years

Mr, Mrs and Miss HOLBEN of HOLBEN & KIRK were to have been with the launch party but deemed it too rough and stayed behind seeing the whole tragic occurrence from their verandah. Other witnesses at the inquest were Crispanas ROBERT, James SENIOR (fisherman) and William KIRK.

SURF BOAT CAPSIZES
FOUR SAILORS DROWNED
MAORIS SWIM ASHORE

On the same day on the opposite side of the North Island, four sailors drowned at Porangahau while loading wool from a surf boat on to the steamer FANNY (Captain SHIRLEY) from Whangaehu Station, Cape Turnagain.

The steamer was at anchor when the surf boat with a load of wool capsized in coming off to the vessel and sank, throwing the occupants into the sea. There were four men in the boat and two of them were seen clinging to a bale of wool, which as soon as it became soaked, disappeared together with the men. There was also some local Maori men in the boat but they managed to make it to shore.

The two remaining members of the crew clung to the bow of the boat, which was stranded on the rocks in a vertical position. Shortly afterwards the sea broke over the boat, washing the men off. As soon as the mishap was seen a lifeboat was launched from the Fanny but none of the unfortunate men were seen again.

The sailors were all members of the ships crew and were:-

JOHANSENS A26Norway
JORGENSENJ23Norway
OLSENL26Norway
ROSSA L23Scotland

Source: - Evening Post 23 October 1911 p7



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