EXPLOSION ON BOARD AN ATLANTIC LINER

Accident aboard a White Star ship commanded by Edward John Smith in 1889

Nottingham Evening Post

The White Star steamer Republic arrived at Queenstown on Saturday, from New York, having on board the bodies of two of her engineers, Macfarlane and Dyer, who were killed by an explosion of one the boilers on the starboard side on the 27th ult., in New York Harbour, and which six firemen and two other engineers were shockingly scalded.

The passengers had all left the vessel, and at a quarter past 12 at night the firemen, who were drawing the fires in the fore furnace, heard a slight pop, and then a commotion in the boiler. Before they could get out of the way the stoke hole was tiled with boiling steam. The stoke hole and engine room were full of men at the time.

Chief-engineer Duncan was on the platform at the top of the ladder leading to the engine room directing the operations. Assistant-engineers Macfarlane, Yates, Ibbs, and Dyer were right in front of the lower furnaces when the explosion occurred, but some other men near the ladders managed to get out comparatively unhurt.

The men in the lower stoke hole had to face the steam which poured in blinding clouds from the furnace. Meanwhile, chief engineer Duncan opened the safety valve, and when the boiler room was clear of the steam, Dr. Macdonald, the ship's surgeon, and Mr. Duncan entered it. They then found number of men lying in a heap with their and their clothes saturated with steam. Some of them were unconscious, and looked like dead men. Those who were strong enough were helped upstairs, and carried to the surgery, but Dyer, Macfarlane, and a man named Leonard were too weak to be moved. The flesh hung from their arms in shreds, and Dyer and Macfarlane succumbed to their wounds. Eight firemen also were terribly injured.

Second engineer Yates and third engineer, Henry Ibbs, who were shocking]y injured, are aboard the Republic in special staterooms. John Leonard, a trimmer, died St. Vincent's hospital the day before the Republic sailed for England.

[Editor's note: After the Republic arrived in England it was put up for sale by the White Star Line and purchased by the Holland America Line. It was finally scrapped in 1910.]

Related Biographies:

Edward John Smith

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