Vectorized picture of steamer Hungarian
|Fate:||Wrecked at Cape Sable, Nova Scotia on February 19, 1860|
|Length:||298 ft (91 m)|
|Beam:||38 ft (12 m)|
|Propulsion:||steam, screw propeller|
SS Hungarian was a steamship of the Canadian Allan Line, built in Dumbarton, Scotland in 1858 for transatlantic service. She was wrecked in 1860 at Cape Sable Island, off Nova Scotia, with the loss of all aboard.
Rescue of the John Martin
At 8:00 on November 9, 1859, the Hungarian spotted a vessel in distress in a strong northerly gale and high seas off the edge of the Newfoundland Banks. A crew of 7 men (including the Chief Officer Hardie and 3rd Officer Porter) were lowered into a lifeboat, and headed to the vessel. Upon arriving within shouting range, they were told the ship was the British schooner John Martin, which also carried the rescued crew of another schooner wrecked off Labrador. The sinking John Martin was abandoned by its 43 passengers, including 23 women and children. Chief Officer Hardie was knocked overboard while helping passengers into the Hungarian. He could not swim, but hauled himself aboard via rope, and survived the ordeal.
Hungarian headed for St. John's and arrived on the morning of the November 10. Each member of the Hungarian's crew that had helped in the lifeboat was given a party by the passengers of the trip, and also received a silver cup for their heroic act.
On February 8, 1860, Hungarian left Liverpool, England, destined for Portland, Maine, under the command of Captain Thomas Jones. She called at Queenstown, Ireland, and departed from there on February 9, 1860. On the night of February 19, she wrecked on Cape Ledge, the west side of Cape Sable, Nova Scotia, with total loss of life. The wrecked ship—and the survivors that clung to it—were visible from shore, but unreachable due to high seas and gale-force winds that did not relent until six days later.
Newspaper articles were published for months after the incident. Most messages about the disaster were sent out from Barrington Telegraph and relayed to major cities. News of the wreck following so soon after that of her sister ship Indian "threw a sense of gloom over the whole of British America". It was feared that among the passengers were some well-known colonists. News traveled slowly and it was undoubtedly a very intense time for everyone who picked up a newspaper.
With 205 lives lost that night, its stands as one of the worst marine disasters in Canadian history.
- Canadian News and British American Intelligencer, March 14, 1860, p. 2.
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