Sad Accident - Five Persons drowned, 1868
- Hi Tony,
Sorry I already a copy of the article for the boating accident. I thought others on the list would also be interested.
"The Buchan Observer" 26th June 1868
Sad Accident - Five Persons Drowned
It is our duty to-day to report a very melancholy affair which happened in our bay on the forenoon of Saturday last, and by which five persons have perished. The circumstances of the accident are involved in mystery, and will never in all probability be fully known. About 11 o'clock on Saturday forenoon, a boat, manned by five persons, two old men and three boys, left the Roanheads for the purpose of prosecuting the hand-line fishing in the bay. The names of those on board were James Stewart, 58; Alex. Mackie, sen., about 60; Alexander Mackie, jun., a son of the former, 18; James Thain, jun., 18; and Alexander Strachan, 14. The boat was watched by a pilot from the Roanheads as she went out to sea; and seen to make as if she were to return, as a pretty stiff breeze was beginning to blow. But the curing yards between the north harbour and the sea obscured her from the pilot, and he never saw her again. But as she went out of his view all well he thought nothing about the !
matter. Another pilot, John Watt, who was in a different position from the one already mentioned, and who was looking through a glass, saw the boat struck by a sea and disappear. He either did not think that the boat had swamped, was unwilling to be the bearer of evil tidings, or did not want to put himself to the trouble, which raising an alarm would occasion, more especially as he maintains that no help could have been afforded to the unfortunate crew, and he consequently did not mention the matter till some hours after, when fears about the safety of the boat were beginning to be entertained. It is asserted by the fishermen that, had the alarm been given when the accident took place, and assistance promptly rendered, some of the crew might have been saved. The boy Mackie was known to be a most expert swimmer, indeed, was proverbial for his abilities in this way. The boat was found the same afternoon, bottom uppermost, about a mile off Scotstown Head. The accident is s!
aid to have happened about a mile from the shore right off the South Head.
The two old men, Mackie and Stewart, were not very strong. In consequence of this, the crew were not in the habit of going far out to sea, and it was only in fine weather that they went out at all. This accounts for the fact that the boat seemed to be returning when there was no danger apparent. The tide runs very strong, however, at the place where the accident took place, and, in even the finest weather, waves will often rise sufficient to upset a small boat such as the wrecked one is. Stewart leaves a widow but no family. The blow has fallen heavier on the other household, which is deprived of its head and the eldest son, who was coming up to lighten the burdens of his parents. Mackie leaves a widow and three children.
Parts of the boat have been found from time to time, but none of the bodies have, as yet, been cast ashore. Search has been made by stretching lines in the bay, but without success. A rumour that two oars lashed together by a worsted frock has come ashore turns out to be untrue. The oars were found at sea, floating close together, and from this fact the fishermen infer that something must have fixed them thus or some one must have been upon them, else the sea would have had them seperated. But this is mere conjecture.