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Hearts of Oak

SS Amazon


Destruction of the Steamship by Fire

with Great Loss of Life


The Times 6th January 1852


It becomes our painful duty to report the particulars of a most appalling accident. The new Royal Mail steam ship AMAZON, Captain Symons, which left Southampton on Friday for the West Indies and the Gulf of Mexico, has been totally consumed by fire, and of 153 persons who were on board her when she left it is feared only 21 have been saved.


The Amazon left Southampton at half-past 3 o clock on Friday afternoon, and in the Channel experienced strong head winds and rain. At a quarter before 1 on Sunday morning, when the ship was about 110 miles west-south-west of Scilly, a fire broke out suddenly, forward on the starboard side, between the steam chest and the under part of the galley, and shortly after the flames rushed up the gangway which is in front of the foremost funnel. The alarm bell was rung, and Captain Symons rushed on deck in his shirt and trousers. Wet swabs and other loose tilings were placed on the gratings of the spar deck hatch, and a hose was brought to play on the main deck, but quickly abandoned in consequence of the excessive heat. The dock pump was also kept at work until the men were forced to retire. The wind was blowing half a gale from south-west, and the vessel was going 8.5 knots, which was her average rate from the time of departure. Captain Symons ordered some hay, between the engine-room crank gratings, to be thrown overboard; two trusses were hove over the ship's side, but the fire soon ignited the main body, the hencoops on each side, and the paddleboxes, the men were obliged to abandon the deck, and those who could leave were all finally driven from the ship. Many were burnt in their berths, others suffocated, and a great number were drowned in the lowering of the boats.


The secretary of the company has informed us that the crew and engine people on board the Amazon were about 112 in number, and that there were 50 passengers on board. He has also supplied us with the following list of the ship's officers, who are missing :—Captain Symons; Mr. Roberts, chief officer; Mr. Treweeke, second officer ; Mr. Lewis, third officer ; Mr. Goodridge, fourth officer; Mr, Stuart, midshipman ; Mr. Stainforth, midshipman; Mr. Angus, chief engineer ; Mr. Angus, jun., second engineer.





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