COLLISION PHOTOS 1930


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Jim Kalafus

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Here is the first of two photo I bought today, showing the aftermath of the deadly and all but forgotten collision between the liner Fairfax and the tanker Pinthis, 6 miles off Scituate Massachussetts on June 10th, 1930.
87683.jpg
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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87686.jpg


The Pinthis was a small, workhorse of a ship (206'X 35') which, on her fatal voyage, was sailing from Fall River Massachussetts to Portland, Maine with 11,500 barrels of gasoline and oil aboard. The Fairfax was bound for Southern ports, carrying 76 passengers and 80 crew members. Traveling in heavy fog at 11.5 knots, the Fairfax rammed the Pinthis at 7PM. Pinthis immediately ignited, and then exploded, showering the forward part of the Fairfax with oil and gasoline. She remained lodged on the Fairfax's bow for a time, as her flaming cargo spread across the ocean's surface, surrounding the liner, and then she pulled free, capsized, and sank with the loss of all 19 on board.

The Fairfax, however, was not out of danger. Forward of the bridge she was on fire, and the blazing oil and/or gasoline which had poured out of the Pinthis still surrounded her. The crew, and passengers (including a continent of Marines and Navy men) battled the fires for some time before they succeeded in extinguishing them. There was apparently panic aboard, and many passengers chose (unwisely as it developed) to take their chances in the sea rather than risk burning to death on the liner. Few survived the escape attempt, for they jumped into a flaming oil slick. The final total for the Fairfax was grim- 11 crew men died fighting the blaze, and 17 passengers were lost by jumping overboard into the flaming slick.

Charred but mostly intact, the Fairfax sailed back to Boston under her own power. The above 'morning after' view shows a lifeboat crumpled by the heat generated by the ocean borne fire. Fuel continued to leak from the Pinthis for several days after the disaster and fed the blazing slick until the supply was exhausted.

Pinthis lies upside down in 100 feet of water, 6 miles off Scituate, and is said to be an excellent dive site.
 
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