Has a person ever been killed by a ship's paddle wheel?

Dan Kappes

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Sep 26, 2018
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Apple Valley, Minnesota, United States
I've just watched the 2012 movie Great Expectations, which is set in the early 19th century, and there's a scene near the end of the film where a man gets forced into the path of a steam ship's paddle wheels and apparently dies from this.

Here are three screenshots from the film. It's hard to see in the film since the scene takes place at night.




Are there any documented incidents of this sort of accident happening during the period in history of the paddle steamers' heyday?
 
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Seumas

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Mar 25, 2019
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I'm not 100% sure on this but a few of those killed in the Princess Alice and General Slocum disasters quite possibly got sucked into the paddle boxes and met a terrible end.
 
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Athlen

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Apr 14, 2012
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I can, unfortunately, confirm that that horrible death befell a number of the General Slocum's victims. It's mentioned in Edward T. O'Donnell's "Ship Ablaze" (which is an interesting and well-written book), among other books on the Slocum disaster. The fire on that ship began well forward and climbed rapidly. Some people near the bow were forced to jump in the first minutes and were killed by the paddlewheels. (The ship continued at full speed because the captain chose to beach it on North Brother Island in NYC's East River rather than on the Bronx or Queens shores.)
 

Dan Kappes

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Sep 26, 2018
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Apple Valley, Minnesota, United States
It's amazing how the General Slocum disaster was New York's worst disaster until 9/11.

It's depicted in the 1934 drama film Manhattan Melodrama but they don't show the paddlewheels hitting people in that film's sequence.


I also remember reading in the book The Sea Shall Embrace Them: The Tragic Story of the Steamship Arctic that after the sinking of the SS Arctic, the captain who was in the water saw his frail son die when the ship's paddlewheel box floated up from the wreck far below and burst out of the water, smashing his son's head as it came down.