NEW ZEALAND DISASTERS AND TRAGEDIES
ISABELLA DE FRAINE
14 JULY 1928
The following was taken from the Te Puke Times of 17 July 1928.
The schooner Isabella de Fraine was dashed to pieces on the treacherous bar at the mouth of the Hokianga Harbour late on Saturday (14 July) afternoon, all the eight members of the crew perishing in the breakers that crashed with the roar of thunder upon her upturned keel.
In the moderate south-west breeze that was blowing the Isabella de Fraine, responding to the semaphore messages hoisted on the signal station, swum from her course outside the bar and came dipping through the main channel. Alone in the forerigging her tried master, Captain Berridge, watched the dangerous channel mouth while the sailor at the helm answered his commands.
Cutting through rough seas the schooner was within the channel, when suddenly she made the bar. The wind caught her canvas, and with a high screech, the huge booms swung across the spray-washed decks. Strained by the quick jar, the Isabella de Fraine listed on side. Following the winds came heavy swells catching the vessel as she lay momentarily on her side. In a flash she had turned completely over, her bottom facing skyward.
Thrown from the rigging, the captain was caught with his fellow seamen and sucked beneath as the Isabella de Fraine lurched and turned turtle. Trapped like rats in a hole the eight gallant men met their death while great green waves battered on the hull of their vessel.
The crew comprised the following: -
*Born in Te Puke
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