Ireland Old News

The Times
London, Middlesex, England
June 6, 1853

(From the Dublin Freeman)

     We deeply regret to state that a most lamentable and fatal accident occurred on Thursday evening on board the Times crew steamer, one of whose boilers exploded, causing loss of life and dreadful injuries to a large number of persons, several of whom are not expected to survive. We give the particulars of this deplorable catastrophe, so far as they could be ascertained last night.
     The Times, one of the vessels belonging to the Dublin and Liverpool Steam Packet Company, and commanded by Captain James Collis, left the North-wall yesterday evening for Liverpool, at 6 o'clock, having on board 303 deck passengers (chiefly emigrants), and seven cabin passengers. She also carried as part of her cargo a number of cattle. When nearly opposite the Pigeon-house at about 7 o'clock, a partial explosion of one of her boilers took place, causing a rent, through which there was an immediate and destructive escape of steam. A scene of the greatest confusion and terror ensued. A number of the unfortunate passengers who crowded the deck were instantly overwhelmed and frightfully scalded by the steam; and those who had the good fortune to escape its destructive effects were in the greatest alarm for their lives. The condensed steam and boiling water shot up from the midship hatch, and the window of the engineroom and descended on the unfortunate deck passengers, who were gathered in the waist of the vessel. Scarcely anything can be imagined more appalling than the sight which the deck presented; men, women, and children rushing to every side for shelter from the scalding steam, others-many of them women-screaming in agony, the terrified cries of their friends, and of numbers were in search of, and apprehensive for, the safety of friends, added to the bellowing of cattle and the bleating of sheep and lambs, with which the vessel was laden, rendered the whole scene a horror happily without a parallel in this country.
     On the vessel being stopped, the boats were lowered, and the unfortunate sufferers conveyed ashore. Nothing could be more frightful than some of the poor creatures presented as they were taken from the boats. On examination it was found that 33 persons were injured, many of them severely, and that two, a boy about four and a girl about three years old, were dead. We were unable to ascertain the names of the latter. Their bodies were removed tot he hospital at the Pigeon-house Fort, where an inquest will be held on them this day.
     The greater portion of the sufferers were landed at the fort, where Dr. Gilburn, the resident physician of the hospital, was in immediate attendance, and rendered every assistance in his power. Colonel Savage, and the officers and men of the Royal Artillery, also exerted themselves in every possible manner to alleviate the torture of the unfortunate creatures. About half-past 7 o'clock a party of police, under Inspector Finnamore, arrived, and proceeded to assist the soldiers in removing the persons who had been injured in the various hospitals.
     Dr. Gilburn found, on examination, that six of the sufferers could not be removed without imminent danger, and he had them carried to the hospital of the Pigeon-house, where everything that care and skill could suggest was immediately done for them.
     Inspector Finnamore had stretchers brought for the conveyance of those who could not be taken on cars to the different hospitals in the city. Some of the passengers who had escaped uninjured were sent by a float up the river and landed at the wharf, and those who had received partial injuries, which did not render it necessary to send them to hospital, were treated with the greatest humanity by numbers of citizens, who exhibited the utmost sympathy for them. None of the cabin passengers were injured. The second engineer was severely and the first engineer slightly scalded. We understand that the Times has been built only about 18 months, and that a fortnight since her boilers were examined and found to be in a sound state. The rent caused by the explosion was about 15 inches long and two side. We should observe, that one of the cabin passengers, Mr. Thomas Carter, an exhibitor of a patent cooking apparatus in the Great Exhibition, exerted himself very creditably, and rendered valuable services in landing the persons injured, and as  far as possible alleviating their sufferings.
     As soon as the accident became known to Mr. Middleton, the agent of the company, he immediately despatched the Mona steam tug to the vessel in order to afford any assistance that might be required, and we understand that directions were given that no expense should be spared that might be necessary to procure proper treatment for the passengers who were injured. It is expected that the Times will be ready to resume her voyage to-morrow.
     Captain Geary, of the Trafalgar City of Dublin Company's steamship, on passing the Times, kindly offered his services, but as there was no damage done to the vessel, with the exception of the rent in the boiler, there was no occasion for them.
     The engineer, William Galway, gives the following account of the accident:- " At about half-past 6 the vessel was going nearly nine miles an hour against the tide, which was then flowing, the pressure of steam on the boiler at the time being 10lb. to the square inch less than it was calculated to bear. When the vessel had proceeded down the river to the point nearly opposite the Pigeon-house, he was going up the ladder from the engineroom, after having left the machinery in charge of Patrick M'Intyre (the assistant engineer), when the explosion took place. He immediately rushed down, seized the safety valve and stopped the engines, and in doing so was so severely scalded on the hands. He also states that at the time the vessel started the water in the boilers was 15 inches above the level of action of the flames from the furnace. In accounting for the cause of the accident he states that in one of the landings or compartments of the boiler a portion of the rivets had been frayed, and when the pressure was put on the part that was thus inundated gave way. The pumping gear for supplying the machines with water was in perfect order, and at work at the time of the accident.
     The following persons were conveyed to Baggot-street Hospital on cars and stretchers by the police, and men belonging to the Artillery Corps stationed at Pigeon-house:- Thomas Rathkin, county Galway, labourer; Teresa King, Kilbeggan; Margaret Donelly, Birr (who was accompanied by a little boy, her son, who fortunately escaped injury); Michael Feeny, county Galway, labourer; John Mulheran, Williamstown, county Galway; Mary Cummins, Ballinasloe; Mary M'Cormick, Durmsna, county Galway, servant; Catherine Fitzgerald, Loughrea; Thomas Molloy, town of Galway; Bridget Kenny, servant, Williamstown, county Galway; Mary Neville, Liverpool; Anne Mulcale, Williamstown, county Galway, is so dreadfully injured that little hope is entertained of her recovery.
     Among the persons conveyed to Mercer's Hospital were- Anne Droney, from the county of Clare; Mary Diegan, from Rathangan, county Kildare; Jane Acton, from Westport, county Mayo; Ann Maguire, a widow and her two children, Patrick and John, the latter a mere infant, all dreadfully scalded.
     Catherine Kelly, of Westport; Charles Cassidy of Kilbeggan; and Mary Gerraty of Westport, were conveyed to the Jervis-street Hospital where they were promptly attended to by Dr. Phelps, the resident physician.
     The following are the names of some of the unfortunate sufferers lying in the hospital of the Pigeon-house, so dreadfully scalded that they could not be removed: Ellen Ward, Galway; Catherine Feeney, of Aunsdown, county Galway; Mary Barrett of Clare; Patrick Maguire, of Sligo; Mary Drawney of Ennistymon.
     There are others in the Pigeon-house Hospital but in such a dreadful state that their names, or the localities from which they came, could not be ascertained from them.
     At half-past 11 o'clock Dr. Doyle of Irishtown, who had been sent to render assistance to Dr. Gilburn in the treatment of the patients at the Pigeon-house Hospital, reported that all the sufferers were going on favourably, with the exception of one poor woman, whose life was in imminent peril.


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