New York Times

   Hide Ads
Majestic's First Officer Dived Overboard after Coal Trimmer Who Attempted Suicide
Gift from Passengers for Officer's Deed--Another of Crew who Sought Death Successful
The White Star Liner Majestic arrived yesterday with 764 passengers and mails from Southampton, via Cherboug and Queenstown, after an eventful voyage, during which one member of the crew committed suicide and a shipmate, who attempted to follow his example, was rescued as he was about to drown.

On Saturday morning early, two days out of Queenstown, Edward Turner, a fireman, disappeared, and was presumed to have jumped overboard. He trimmed his fires at 2:45 A.M. in the second engineer's watch, and that was the last time his shipmates saw him.

On Tuesday, when the ship was steaming along in a dense fog about four bells, in the fornoon watch, William Keoun, a coal trimmer, 27 years old, suddenly appeared on deck, and jumped over the port side aft, striking the water with a loud splash and emitting a yell that was heard by Capt. John B. Kelk on the bridge, as well as the passengers on deck, who all ran to the side to see what the matter was.

An officer and two seamen on deck immediately seized lifebouys and threw them overboard for the man, who appeared to have repented of his act, and was swimming toward the ship.

The starboard emergency lifeboat, which was swinging in the davits, was manned in charge of Second Officer Simpson, all ready for the word to lower away. Capt Kelk, after stopping his engines, went astern and manouvered so skillfully that the Majestic practically retraced her wake and got to within two ship lengths of the struggling coal trimmer.

David Blair, the first officer, who was lying down in his cabin, hastily jumped into his uniform and rush on deck to see what had happened. As the fog lifted the officer saw Keoun, apparently very weak, bobbing up and down on the swell, and without a moment's heistation he dived from the rail of the promenade deck into the water. He got hold of the lifebouy and started to push it ahead in the direction of the drowning man.

While Mr. Blair was swimming toward him the lifeboat, pulled by eight stalwart seamen and steered by Mr. Simpson, passed and grabbed Keoun as he was sinking. Then the first officer was hauled into the boat. When they arrived alongside the Majestic the passengers gave a hearty cheer for the gallant attempt made by the first officer.

The temperature of the water was 44 degrees, and both the first officer and the coal trimmer showed effects of their immersion. The reason for Keoun's attempted suicide was not been discovered, as the man has not recovered his senses and has been kept under guard in the ship's hospital.

To mark their appreciation of his bravery, the passengers on the Majestic made up a purse of $50, which they handed to Purser Evans to purchase a pair of marine glasses to present Mr Blair as a momento of the occasion.

Share on FaceBook Twitter

Related Biographies:

David Blair

Relates to Ship:

Majestic (1890)


Rosanne MacIntyre


Encyclopedia Titanica (2004) LEAPED FROM LINER AT SEA TO SAVE MAN (New York Times, Friday 9th May 1913, ref: #2154, published 5 January 2004, generated 16th June 2021 01:06:29 AM); URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/leaped-from-liner-at-sea-save-man.html