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The S/S Norge disaster - newspaper reports

The New York Times July 4 - 6 - Transcribed by Jo Anne Sadler 2006
The New York Times, Monday, July 4, 1904, front page

Nearly 800 Lost In Wreck Of Liner
The Norge Strikes a Rock Off the Hebrides.
Only Two of Them Succeed in Getting Free from Ship.
Survivor Tells of the Disaster-Passengers Cool in Face of Death-Hundreds on Deck as Ship Went Dow.

London Times-New York Times
Special Cablegram

GRIMSBY, England, July 3-The steam trawler Silvia, which arrived last night, had on board 27 of the 800 passengers and crew of the Danish steamer Norge, which was wrecked on Rockall (off the Hebrides) Tuesday.

Only one of the twenty-seven is able to speak English, and that not fluently, so details of the catastrophe were obtained with difficulty. So far as has been ascertained; the Norge was on a voyage from Copenhagen to New York with emigrants only. There were over 700 of these on board. Norwegians, Danes, Swedes and Finns, while the crew consisted of about 100 men. The ship was under the command of Capt. Gondell of Copenhagen.

The vessel sailed Monday last, and all went well until nearing Rockall Tuesday. Rockall is a very dangerous rock, about 70 feet high, and has a reef projecting into the sea about five miles.

Ship Filled Rapidly.

It is evident that the Norge got out of her course, for she struck the reef about 7:30 o'clock Tuesday morning. Directly the vessel struck the engines were reversed and the Norge came back into deep water. So large was the rent in her bow that she began to fill rapidly, and there was evidently no chance of keeping her afloat.

The Norge carried eight boats. These were got out at once, but were smashed in the launching. Some of the seamen sacrificed their lives in order that the women and children might have priority. Five boats were filled with passengers, but only two succeeded in getting away.

A heavy sea was running and the last the survivors saw was a large number of emigrants on the vessel and the Captain on the bridge.

Story of a Survivor.

The only survivor who speaks English made the following statement:

"I was lying in my bunk waiting for breakfast. I had got up previously and washed. We heard a slight bump, followed directly afterward by another bump.

"I rushed on deck and saw that something serious had happened. I made a dash to return in order to collect my few belongings. Scores were rushing on deck; and the hatchway was crowded with emigrants.

"They were launching boats, and I rushed to get into one. There was no panic. There were four or five people in the boat when I got in.

Saw Two Boats Capsize.

"We got clear of the ship. Fortunately our party included the only seaman of the Norge who was saved, and he was able to navigate our little boat. We saw two other boats capsize owing to the heavy weather and because nobody could navigate them.

"We made straight away, and after twenty-four hours the Silvia bore down and picked us up.

"Dozens of people who jumped into the sea with lifebelts were drowned before our eyes. About 700 people must have been drowned."

By the Associated Press

LONDON, July 3-Over 700 Danish and Norwegian emigrants bound for New York are believed to have been drowned in the North Atlantic. Out of nearly 800 souls on board the Danish steamer Norge, which left Copenhagen, only 27 are known to be alive and for the rest no hope is held out.

When last seen the Norge was sinking where she struck on the islet of Rockall, whose isolated peak raises itself from a deadly Atlantic reef some 290 miles off the west coast of Scotland.

Early on the morning of June 28 the Norge, which was out of her course in heavy weather, ran on to the Rockall reef, which in the distance looks like a ship under full sail. The Norge was quickly backed off, but the heavy seas poured in through a rent in her bows.

The emigrants, who were then awaiting breakfast below, ran on deck. Except that the hatchways were scarcely built for these hundreds of souls and became clogged, there was no panic.

Boats Smashed by Sea.

The Norge quickly began to go down by the head. Eight boats were lowered, and into these the women and children were hurriedly put. Six of these boats smashed against the side of the Norge, and their helpless inmates were caught up by the heavy seas.

Two boatloads got safely away from the side of the sinking ship, and many of the emigrants who were left on board, seizing life belts, threw themselves into the sea and were droned.

Capt. Gundel, so the survivors say, stood on the bridge of the doomed vessel until it could be seen no more.

The Norge foundered suddenly, and some six hundred terrified emigrants were thrown into the water or drawn down with the sinking ship.

Beat Off Drowning Wretches.

Those who could swim tried to reach the boats, but these were already too full, and their occupants beat off the drowning wretches with oars.

The boats kept together for some hours. Practically all of their occupants were passengers, and were not used to handling such craft. The boat occupied by the survivors landed at Grimsby was a lifeboat.

One account says that three boats were successfully launched, the other two holding about 10 each. The lifeboat made faster progress, and fell in with the Salvia. What became of the other boats is not yet know.

The rescue of those on the lifeboat took place at 8 o'clock on the morning of June 29, the survivors consisting of twenty men, one of them a seaman, six women, and a girl.

One of the survivors said that when he got on deck the Norge was half submerged and was rapidly getting lower in the water. Half mad with fright, the survivors all struggled for places in the boats. They fought their way to the big lifeboat, and an officer stowed in the six women and the girl, and then told the men to get in.

The officer then took charge and got the boat away from the side of the Norge. Seeing that the boat was already overladen, the officer with great heroism jumped into the water and tried to board another boat, which was not so full. He failed and was drowned.

Sea Alive with Struggling People.

In the sea by this time was a mass of struggling men, women and children gasping and choking from the effects of the water. The boat rowed clear of this seething inferno, and just as she drew away the Norge went down.

Peter Nelson, one of the survivors, described as a young American said:

"For some hours we rowed in company with the other boat, but the strong tide carried us away from the others, and nothing has been seen of them since. The Salvia picked us up, and we were well cared for on board the trawler.

"All of us lost our entire belongings. We had no time in that fierce fight for life to think of anything but the getting of seats in the boat."

Probably No Other Survivors

The only hope except for the twenty-seven who escaped is that some few of the emigrants might have been washed up on the barren rock. Their chance of being rescued even then is practically nil, for vessels sailing the North Atlantic give Rockall as wide a berth as possible.

The news of this disaster, which it is feared in its death record is greater than any previous tragedy of the Atlantic, came with the arrival to-night of the steam trawler Salvia at her home port, the quiet fishing town of Grimsby.

The Salvia had been on a fortnight's cruise around the Hebrides. By a lucky chance she steamed further west than is usual for Grimsby trawlers, and feel in with the survivors of the Norge, who for twenty-four hours had been tossed about in a small boat on the rough waters of the North Atlantic.

The survivors were taken aboard the Salvia and were landed at Grimsby to-night.


Was Equipped with Six Water-Tight
Bulkheads-Built in Glasgow.

The Norge, which had been in the Copenhagen-New York service of the Scandinavian-American Line, formerly the Thingvalla Line, for a number of years, was an iron vessel of 3,318 tons gross and 2,121 tones net. Her principal dimensions were: Length, 240 feet; breadth, 40 feet, and depth, 25 feet.

The Norge was built at Glasgow by A. Stephen & Son, in 1881. She was named Pieter de Coninck, but when she was purchased by the United Steamship Company of Copenhagen she was renamed the Norge.

The vessel was equipped with six water-tight bulkheads. She was regularly employed in the passenger service, and was the first vessel to bring cut rate immigrants to the country after the rate war started between the various big steamship lines.

The New York Times, Monday, July 5, 1904, front page

Men, Women, and Children Fought for Life.
Captain Went Down with Ship But Came Up and Was Saved.
Probably 646 Drowned
Off 774 Persons on Board Only 128 Are Known to Have
Been Rescued-Tales of the Survivors

GRIMSBY, England, July 4.-A lone pile of granite, rising sheer out of the Atlantic 200 miles from the Scottish mainland, is now a monument to almost 650 dead. Bodies wash against the rocks or lied in the ocean bed at its base. Near by, completely hidden in the water, is the Scandinavian-American liner Norge, which was carrying nearly 800 Danes, Norwegians, Swedes and Finns to join relatives or friends in America. Of these only 128 were saved, so far as is known.

There were on the Norge 703 passengers and a crew of 71 men when she sailed from Copenhagen-774 souls in all. Of these 26 were brought to this port by the trawler Sylvia. Seventy more were picked up by the German steamer Energie and 32 by the British steamer Cervona, both of which put in at Stornoway, Scotland.

Capt. Gundel is among the survivors. He went down with his ship, but came up again and was saved.

No tragedy of the sea has had more appalling consequences and none has occurred in a shorter time. The passengers were suddenly aroused from their sleep, terrified by the contact of the bows of the ship with the solid granite, followed by a grinding, rasping sound, as if the hull was being shored over huge rocks. Then silences, as the clanging bells brought the engines to a stop.

Those of the passengers who were standing at the time the steamer struck the rocks were thrown against the bulkheads or on the decks, and had not recovered their feet when a stentorian voice gave the terrifying order: "All hands on deck! Hurry or you may sink!"

Rush to the Lifeboats.

Immediately there was a rush for the narrow companionways, and men, women, and children pushed and struggled and made every other effort to reach the deck where the boats swung from the davits. Many persons, retaining their presence of mind, seized life preservers, only to find in some instances that the strings were rotten and that they could not be quickly put around their bodies.

Those who reached the deck saw the nose of the Norge pinned directly against the rock. It remained there only a few minutes, for Capt. Gundell, commanding, who had immediately gone to the bridge, gave the order to the engine room to reverse the engines. Some men of the engineer force had relatives among the passengers, and after seeing them safely to the boats they heroically returned to their stations below.

Slowly the ship backed off, and as she gained way it was found that water was pouring into her hold. This announcement, called out in Scandinavian and presaging death, added to the supreme fright and agony. The passengers who were piled in the boats were the fortunate ones who were to escape, while the unfortunates, who saw death near, clustered in the vicinity, seething, struggling masses, some on their knees, praying, surrounded by children, others supplicating aid from any one and shrieking for permission to enter the boats, elbowing, fighting their way to the places from which the boats were being lowered.

Seas Smash First Boat.

The sound of grinding ceased, and the bow of the Norge yawned as the steamer returned to deep water. The sea rushed hungrily into the huge rents made by the rocks in the iron hull. Swiftly the vessel began to sink by the bows.

Without waiting for orders, without paying attention to their proper manning, the occupants began to lower the boats. The starboard lifeboat began slowly to fall, when to the horror of those on board the stern tackle failed, while the bow tackle ran free. Soon the boat was almost perpendicular. Those who were in it clung desperately to the sides and seats until a great wave came towering along and struck the boat, smashing it against the side of the ship. The occupants of the boat who were not killed by the impact were thrown into the water.

The crew and passengers on deck had no time to spare to assist the few who had a chance to escape, but lost it. Undeterred by the experience of the first boat, a second, loaded principally with women and children, was lowered. This time the tackle ran smoothly, but the hopes of escape of the passengers on board were blasted. The moment it touched the water, waves picked up the small craft as if it had been a feather and dashed it against the side of the ship, in spite of the frantic efforts of the passengers to fend it off.

The crash was heard on deck. Then the seas swallowed more victims, and pieces of wreckage slowly drifted toward the rock.

The upper deck of the Norge at the time of the disaster to the second boat was only a few feet from the water, and it was apparent to every one that in only a few minutes more she would plunge beneath the waves. In the final crisis those who are able to remember clearly what happened say that the shrieks and sobs died away, and that the quiet was only broken by the curses of some men who fear found vent in blasphemy.

Many Leap Into Sea.

Suddenly one man threw himself overboard and another followed his example. Still another jumped into the water, and soon around the ship hundreds of persons were struggling in the sea, having preferred death in the open than being submerged with the ship. Others determined to stand by the ship, hoping against hope that she would remain afloat.

Three boats, it is know, successfully reached the sea. The passengers frantically pulled away from the doomed ship, passing by poor wretches who were still afloat, and who vainly begged to be taken on board, while from the ship came long, despairing cries.

The women in the boat which reached Grimsby hid their eyes, but the men who were sitting facing the Norge say they saw the Captain still on the bridge and the passengers on deck in attitudes of resignation. While they looked the Norge plunged forward, her stern shot up in the air and she disappeared. The swimmers in the vicinity of the ship were drawn into the vortex, around which they swirled like chips in the maelstrom.

Sank in Twelve Minutes.

Only twelve minutes elapsed from the time the ship struck until she sank.

A fine Scotch mist which was falling at the time shut out the other survivors from the view of those who were brought to Grimsby. The latter, so soon as their boat was clear of the scene of the wreck, devoted themselves to thoughts of their own safety. A jacket was tied to an oar, which was in turn fastened in the bow of the boat, and a sailor, a Dane, took charge of the boat. Men and women were put to work keeping the boat afloat, as a hole had been stove in her bow when it was lowered from the ship.

An examination of the water cask showed that it did not contain a drop of water. There were some biscuits, however, and these were eaten by the shipwrecked people during the twenty-four hours form the time the ship struck, at 7 A.M. July 28 until they were picked up by the Grimsby trawler Sylvia.

So dazed were the survivors of the Norge who were safely brought to Grimsby that it was difficult to obtain a connected story of the disaster. Twenty-six persons in all reached here, nineteen, six women, and one child, a girl six years old. Every one has relatives in America. They say the great majority of those who went down also were on their way to join relatives or friends located principally in the Northwestern States.

Tales of Survivors.

The Associated Press correspondent saw the men and women survivors. The former were on the docks, while the women were sitting quietly in a small room in the hotel. Their faces all bore evidence to the terrible experiences through which they had passed.

Katerina Siljander, whose husband lives at 381 North Franklin Street, Chicago, said to the correspondent:

"Everything was quiet and most of the passengers were sleeping. I had left my berth and was dressing my baby. When the ship struck the first time I did not know what it meant, but when it struck again I realized its meaning. I seized my child by the hair and ran up to the companionway. I threw the baby into the bottom of a boat, and then jumped in myself.

"Some of the women on board had seven or eight children each, from whom they became separated, and the cries of these mothers calling for their missing children were heartrending.

"The lifebelts were almost useless, for the strings would not hold.

"When the boat left the ship there were many passengers standing on the decks begging with hands outstretched. Many, too, threw themselves into the water."

Sailor's Story of Disaster.

Karl Mathieson, the Danish sailor who assume command of the boat brought to Grimsby, only joined the Norge at Copenhagen just before she sailed for New York. He said he knew nothing about the ship's arrangements in case of collision or fire. He had never been instructed in fire drill, and did not understand what it meant. He was on deck when the vessel struck, but he did not know until he heard the Captain shouting the order to man the boats that the damage was great. Mathieson said:

"I worked with the third mate, and followed him to the different boats. The first we attempted to lower fouled her tackle, keeping her stern fixed, while her bow fell and shop the occupants into the water. A heavy sea washed the boat against the ship's side.

"We went to another, a crowd of shrieking women and children following. The launching operations were not conducted simultaneously, the officers and crew going from one to another. Had men been set to work at each boat more would have been saved. Some of the crew were worse than the passengers, and but for the officers would have put off in the boats themselves. These were driven back and threatened with death unless they obeyed orders.

"The Captain never left the bridge, but he shouted so many orders that the crew did not know what to do. Therefore, I stuck to the third mate. Together we jumped into a small boat just before the vessel went down, but we did not think so many were left behind as appeared on the water when the Norge sank. Those remaining on board were chiefly women and children.

"I saw only two other boats afloat, one a big lifeboat, easily carrying sixty persons, and the other small boat, carrying possibly forty. No Other boats got away, though there were eight on board."

The crew of the Norge appear to have behaved well after the first panic, when, it is said, the officers were compelled to drive them back from the boats. But there apparently was no discipline, the orders which the Captain shouted from the bridge being misinterpreted or unheard. So far as the survivors here remember there was no systematic distribution of the people to the boats, which were not adequately manned. No attempt was made by any of the survivors to save property. There was no time to make preparations.

Engineer's Heroic Deed.

Many deeds of heroism shine brightly through the pall of the catastrophe. That of Jans Peters Jansen, who has relatives in Brooklyn, N.Y., is told with admiration by the survivors. He was one of the engineers of the Norge. When the ship struck he learned the extent of the disaster, and went below to where his relatives were and told them and those near by to go at once to the upper deck.

He accompanied them to the boats and saw them safely on board. He was urged to join them, but said he must return to the engine room, and shouting a farewell, ran to his post of duty, where he died.

Some of the male passengers, without a thought of self, placed women and children in the boats, preferring to remain behind rather than take advantage of their strength.

The Mate of the Norge, who left the ship in the boat which arrived here, seeing that it was overcrowded, leaped into the water for the purpose of swimming to a second boat not far away. He had only gone a short distance when, weighted by his clothes, his strength gave out and he sank.

How Survivors Were Found.

"I was on the bridge looking at the men gathering in the seine," said Henry Glover, Second Engineer of the Sylvia.

" ' Is that a buoy out of place?' I asked the cook, who was with me on deck. "I went below and got the glasses.

" 'It's a small boat,' I said, and they have got a jacket flying at the bow. They've been shipwrecked.'

"We told the Captain and he immediately told us to go ahead, and we picked them up. They were a terrible sight. Men and women insufficiently clothed and so cramped that they could hardly come on board. We could not start immediately, for we had our nets out, but as soon as they were stowed in we went directly to where the Norge went down. There was no trace of the ship, but swashing in the water back of the rocks were the bodies of more than a hundred men, women, and little children."

The correspondent of The Associated Press made careful inquiry to discover why the Norge was so far off her course. Rockhall Reef is known to every sailor on the North Atlantic and is marked plainly on the charts. A strong current sweeps in its direction and it is presumed, owing to the absence of definite knowledge, that a heavy mist prevented the lookouts from seeing the danger, and that there was no thought of Rockhall Reef until the ship struck.

Those survivors wishing to continue their journey to America will be sent forward by way of Liverpool to-night while those who refused to go further, together with the sailor, Mathieson, have left Grimsby by steamer direct for Esbjerg, Denmark. All the men were provided with new clothing before their departure.

Destinations of Survivors.

The destinations of some of the survivors were as follows:

Pedre Nelsen, a naturalized America, was going to his homestead, in South Dakota.

Paul Petersen Hgelset and Ole Petersen Hgelset, brothers, expected to join their father in Minnesota.

Andreas Pagro was going to Minnesota, where he has an uncle.

Johannes Johannsen and his three sisters were going to Chicago.

Eric Monsen, a boy, was going to Milford, N.D. where he has a brother.

Josephine Johannsen was on the way to her brother, in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Emma Olsen intended to join her father at Tancred, N.D. Her brother is believe to have been lost.

Karin Fosmoe has relatives in Alexandra, Minn., and intended joining them.

Laura Christiana Pedersen was bound to join her cousin, John Schroeder, in Indiana.

Amanseh Pukkestad was going to join Matias Borgensen in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Neils Larsen was booked to Milford, N.D. where he has a sister and three brothers.

Kyrict Broten, was on the way to the home of his uncle in North Dakota.

Jenhenalina Joesen intended meeting her three sisters in Brooklyn, but has lost their addresses and will not know how to proceed after reaching New York.

Hundred Call at Scandinavian-American Line Offices
Capt. Wulff of the United States Thinks Fog or
Cross Currents Responsible for Disaster

About a hundred persons called at the offices of the Scandinavian-America Steamship Line at Whitehall Street and Broadway yesterday trying to get news of the Norge, which vessel with about eight-hundred passengers on board was wrecked on a reef that projects about five miles into the sea from Rockall, a dangerous rock off the Hebrides in the North Atlantic last Wednesday. Most of those who clamored for news at the steamship office had relatives on the ship.

One of those awaiting news was Max Brandenburg of Graham Avenue, Brooklyn. Brandenburg, almost crazed with grief said that his wife and eight children, as well as his father and mother, were among the passengers. George Nelson of 1981 Second Avenue said that he had a sister on board. Max Wallach of 274 Henry Street said that his cousin, Mrs. Bella Wallach, was on the Norge with her four children. Samuel Roscovsky of 332 Cherry Street said his mother and two sisters from Russia were among the passengers, and Oscar and Moses Svengal of 45 East Broadway said that their father and two sisters had booked to sail on the ill-fated liner. Max Levy of 408 Cherry Street said that his wife had intended sailing on the Norge and he was certain that she was on the vessel.

Charles Lundgren of 623 East One Hundred and Thirty-eighth Street called at the office trying to get information as to whether or not his wife had sailed on the ship. He said that he had formerly lived at Helsingborg, and that last Spring his wife had returned to Europe to visit her relatives. Her ticket of return was by the Norge. A pathetic case was that of Ludvig Anderson, who lives at 343 East One Hundred and Forty-fifth Street, where he has been for the last three years building up a home for his wife and two little children. He said that he had sent prepaid tickets to his family to come over some time ago. He wife, he said, was twenty-seven years of age, and that his oldest child, Adoph, was five, and his little daughter, Yerdes, whom he had never seen was three years old. He thought that they sailed on the Norge.

Mrs. August Storm of 320 Clinton Street, Hoboken, called at the office for information concerning her niece, Karin Lofglen, a sixteen-year-old Swedish girl. Mrs. Storm said that she sent the girl a prepaid ticket for the Norge and that she greatly feared that the girl was among the lost. The clerk told her that Karin's name did not appear on the list in the New York office. Oscar Ekke, a carpenter of 5 Water Street, said that his wife, Emma, had been in Sweden visiting relatives and had expected to sail on the Oscar II. He wrote her to come by the Norge or the United States, as he did not like the sea-going qualities of the Oscar II. He was greatly excited for fear that she might have followed his advice.

Mrs. Mary Anderson of 551 Bronx Avenue said that she had expected her fifteen-year-old son, Charles, to come over on the Hekla, which arrived on June 25, and when he failed to arrive on that vessel she concluded that he was coming on the Norge. Mrs. Anderson came to this country eleven years ago, leaving her son in the care of her mother. Having prospered in this country Mrs. Anderson recently purchased a prepaid ticket at the New York office which she sent to the boy.

One of the newest vessels in the Scandinavian-American fleet is the United States, now docked at Hoboken. Capt. Wulff of this vessel is an old friend of Capt. Gundell, the commander of the Norge. Capt. Gundell, he added, had worked his way to the top from the position of a common sailor. He got his captain's commission four years ago. Referring to the accident Capt. Wulff said:

"I have not any idea how it was that the Norge came to run on the rocks, but it seems to me that either fog or cross currents must have had something to do with her getting out of her regular course. The spot where she went down is one of the most dangerous in the sea."

Max Strauss, a member of the firm of A.E. Johnson & Co., the local agents of the line, speaking of the disaster said: "The Scandinavian sailors are the best in the world, and if they could not save the Norge none others could. You can rest assured that Capt. Gundell was the last man on board that vessel."

First Officer Gilbe of the Norge hailed from Copenhagen. He and Second Officer Otta had families in Denmark. A.E. Johnson, the New York agent of the line was at his offices early yesterday morning and said that he had not received any further news of the disaster. One of those who saw Mr. Johnson was Gen. C.T. Christensen. Gen. Christensen said that he had intended returning to Denmark on the Norge as Capt. Gundell was an old friend of his.

The flags on the pier and the two ships of the Scandinavian-American Line lying at the foot of Seventeenth Street, Hoboken, were at half mast all day yesterday.


Passengers Numbered 703 Persons and the Crew 71-Copenhagen Mourns.

COPENHAGEN, July 4.-The United Steamship Company [DFDS], which owned the Norge, has received a telegram from Stornoway saying that the Energie picked up seventy survivors of the Norge, including her Captain, Gundell, and that the Cervona picked up thirty-two.

The company carried all the insurance risks of the Norge, with the exception of about $25,000. Insured through German underwriters.

The Norge had no first-class passengers on board, and only nine on her second-cabin list. These included three Americans, Elizabeth and Anna Buckley of Seattle and Hilma Fleischman, whose address is unknown. All the others were in the steerage.

There were on board 694 steerage passengers. Of these 79 were Danes, 68, Swedes, 296 Norwegians, 15 Finns, and 236 Russians.

The officials of the United Steamship Company know of only one third-class passenger who formerly resided in the United States, he gave his residence as South Dakota. All the others gave their addresses in Danish Cities.

Very few of the steerage passengers had previously been to America.

The authorities here say the Norge was not overcrowded and that the boats and other life-saving apparatus were all in a satisfactory condition when the steamer sailed. The Norge carried a crew of 71 men. She was the oldest Danish transatlantic steamer running.

The news of the disaster to the Danish steamer Norge off the west coast of Scotland, which over 700 persons are reported to have lost their lives, created indescribable excitement here.

The first message reached here at 4 o'clock this morning. Crowds soon gathered about the offices of the line, seeking for information. The flags are half-masted on all the ships and buildings here.

One-half the passengers of the Norge were furnished with prepaid tickets by relatives in America. The names of these relatives have been cabled by the company to New York.

Capt. Gundell, the late commander of the Norge, was regarded as one of the best seamen of Denmark. One of his greatest friends was Gen. Christensen of New York, who never traveled on any other ship than the vessel commanded by Gundell.

The Denmark, a sister ship of the Norge, was wrecked in 1886. There were no fatalities, however.

The Danish Admiral Richelieu, a Director of the United Steamship Company, which owned the Norge, returned to-day from the St. Louis Exposition. Of the wreck of the Norge he said:

"The Norge was a good strong ship, and had sailed 200 times to the United States without meeting with any accident. The catastrophe was due to the weather and to the strong current. The best ship in the world might be the victim of a similar fate if during such weather she had to make the course that way.


Went Down with His Ship, but Came Up and Was Saved.

STORNOWAY, Scotland, July 4.-Thirty-two survivors of the Danish steamer Norge were landed here to-day by the British steamer Cervonax. Seventy other survivors were also taken off the German steamer Energie. They were all in a pitiful condition.

Among those on board the Energie was Capt. Gundal of the Norge. He said:

"All went well until about 7:45 o'clock last Tuesday. When about eighteen miles south of Rockall I felt the steamer strike heavily forward on a sunken rock. There was a gentle breeze blowing from the south with a cloudy sky.

"I was on the bridge with Chief Officer Carpenter. Soundings were taken and it was reported there were five feet of water in the forward hold.

"Orders were given to commence pumping and also to the passengers to put on life belts and be ready to get into the boats, which were ordered to be put out.

"The crew worked nobly under the leadership of the Chief Officer. Seven boats got safely away, the life rafts were cut adrift, and the steamer went down by the bow. "The Chief Officer told me she was sinking, and I told him to jump overboard, which he did. I did not see him again.

"I went down with the steamer. My right leg got jammed between two stanchions and was very much injured. When I rose to the surface I noticed a number of bodies floating.

"The Norge was afloat only about twenty minutes after striking.

"I swam for about twenty minutes and came across Second Engineer Brunn, who is a good swimmer. We kept company for about an hour and a half, when we noticed a boat some distance off, and we both made for it. I was hindered by my sore leg, and the engineer reached the boat first. Both of us were taken on board quite exhausted. We found that it was lifeboat No. 1. It was crowded and under the charge of Able Seaman Peter Olsen.

"After recovering a little, I took charge of the boat and the provisions, which consisted only of a box with bread and two casks of water. The boat was steered for St. Kilda, 150 miles distant.

"Saturday morning we saw a large schooner-rigged steamer about four miles distant. We put up a blanket on an oar but the steamer passed on without taking any notice of us.

"Sunday morning a bark passed some distance off, but with the same result.

"At about 12 o'clock Sunday land was sighted and the drooping spirits of all were revived. It proved to be St. Kilda.

"Some time afterward a steamer was noticed coming from the west bearing down upon our boat. She proved to be the Energie, and at 6 o'clock we were safe on board."

A pathetic little sequel to this tale of rescue is contained in the statement that Saturday morning one of the children in the lifeboat died, and with the consent of the parents, who were in the boat, the body was buried at sea.

Those rescued by the Cervona included two women and six children and by the Energie thirteen women and twenty-eight children.

Capt. Gundel declared that his intention was to put the Norge about and to beach her, but that she that she went down so rapidly that he was unable to do so. He said he arranged for one of the boats to hang off Rockall in the hope of falling in with some steam trawlers, one of which was passed by the Norge an hour before she was wrecked.

The New York Times, Wednesday, July 6, 1904

Rescuers on Trawler Find Them Adrift in Boat.
Party Lived on Two Biscuits a Day-Water and Food Gone and
All Exhausted When Found

ABERDEEN - Scotland, July 5.- Seventeen survivors of the wreck of the Danish steamer Norge were landed here to-night by the steam trawler Largo Bay. They were picked up from one of the boats of the Norge.

LONDON, July 5.- Aother boatload containing seventeen survivors of the ill-fated Danish steamship Norge, which foundered off Rockall Reef, 200 miles from the Scottish mainland on June 28, were landed at Aberdeen, Scotland, to-night by the steam trawler Largo Bay.

Six hundred and twenty-seven souls are still missing.

The continent now being cared for at Aberdeen consists of twelve passengers, the third mate of the Norge, the Quartermaster, a steward, a lamp trimmer, and one of the crew.

Adrift on Sea Six Days.

They drifted at the mercy of the Atlantic for six days. When both water and food were gone and when the occupants were almost too exhausted even to hope, the trawler Largo Bay hove in sight. This was July 4, when the boat was about thirty miles off St. Kilda.

Those rescued had eked out an existence on two biscuits per day. When they started from the ill-fated ship there was only one small cask of fresh water in the boat. Before the Largo Bay fell in with them both this and the biscuits had been finished, and the pangs of thirst and hunger had set in.

They weathered a gale and continued as best they might, striving to reach the coast of Scotland against the heavy seas. From strips of life belts they constructed a crude sail. The man had scarcely strength enough to hold the oars.

When the survivors were dragged on board the trawler the fishermen were obliged to forcibly prevent them from eating and drinking too much.

Many of the survivors have severe wounds, sustained in jumping from the deck of the sinking ship. The legs and arms of others are swollen from exposure and from the salt water.

On their arrival at Aberdeen the survivors were taken to the Sailors' Home.

Three Boats Still Missing.

Their third mate says that three other boats started with that rescued by the Largo Bay. One of these contained thirty-two persons, including several women and children, Another boat had fifteen men with the second mate in charge. The third boat had ten men on board. The survivors parted company with the three boats on July 3.

For these boats the British gunboat Leda, the Government fishing cutter Jackall, a steamer chartered by the Danish Consul at Glasgow, and several other vessels are diligently searching.

The bodies of three children rescued from the Norge only to die on shore were buried to-day at Stornoway, Scotland, amid pathetic scenes.

STORNOWAY - Scotland, July 5. - The Danish authorities have chartered a steamer to search the Rockall, St. Kilda, and Flannan Islands for survivors of the wrecked steamer Norge.

Two children, who were among the rescued passengers of the Norge, died in the hospital here as a result of exposure.

Widows of Victims Seek Death.
COPENHAGEN, July 5.-A subscription in behalf of the relatives of the victims and of the rescued passengers of the Danish steamer Norge, which foundered with the loss of 646 lives, was opened here this morning. Among the first donors were American tourists. Condolences are pouring in from the royal family and people in America and elsewhere.

Touching scenes were witnessed again to-day in the offices of the United Steamship Company.

The wives of two of the emigrants lost on the Norge attempted to commit suicide by drowning, but they were saved at the last moment.

According to an order issued by the company, small steamers have begun to search the islands and waters in the neighbor hood of Rockall for survivors.

Crown Prince Frederick, who is Regent in the absence of King Christian, has received condolences from several sovereigns.

St. PAUL, Minn., July 5.-A.E. Johnson, Northwestern agent for the Norwegian-American Steamship Company, owner of the Norge, estimates that thirty-eight persons bound for the Northwest to make it their future home, went down in the wreck of that steamer.

CHICAGO, July 5.-Temporary insanity, the result of the loss of his family in the Norge steamship disaster, is given as the cause of the alleged suicide of Otto Hanson, who has been found dead on the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad tracks in Evanston. About a month ago Hanson sent for his family to come to Evanston to live.

Same Men Also Inspected the Slocum-What the Certificate Shows.

It has been learned that the certificate of inspection of the Norge, the ill-fated Scandinavian-American liner which was wrecked off the Hebrides with a loss of 646 lives, was signed by the same Inspectors who signed that of the General Slocum. The names of Gen. Dumont and Thomas H. Barrett appear on the document, which was sworn to by Harris S. Eckert, a notary, who affixed his seal on October 19, 1903. The inspection was made in Hoboken Oct. 17 of the same year.

The certificate of the Norge developed some startling facts. She was licensed to carry but 488 passengers, steerage and cabin, and, according to dispatches, she had on board at least 700 passengers and a crew of 71 men. The certificate relating to carrying passengers states:

"Four staterooms, 40 berths and allowed to carry 488 passengers, namely: 16 first cabin, 32 second cabin, and 440 deck or steerage passengers."

The certificate on file here shows that there were but 700 life preservers on the Norge, although there were 774 persons on board. The certificate also says that she was equipped with six cork rings, eight wooden lifeboats, and one raft. There were neither metal nor collapsible lifeboats on board, the certificate showing that these spaces were left blank.

Gen. Dumont was asked yesterday if he had personally made an inspection of the Norge as her certificate would seem to indicate. He said he had not, but had relied entirely on the inspection made by his assistant. He was asked to give the name of the assistant who passed on the hull and life-saving appliances, but refused to do so.


It is said that many other steamships have been coming to this port similarly overcrowded, but no attention has been paid n this by the Inspectors.

Cable dispatches say that some of the life belts of the Norge were rotten just as were those on the Slocum. A.E. Johnson, agent in this city for the Scandinavia-American Line, said yesterday:

"I do not know what the certificate given the Norge on the other side allowed, but I am sure she did not carry more than the number of passengers allowed bylaw. No steamship would dare to do that. I believe that she had two certificates, one from this side and one from the authorities in Europe. I have frequently known her to come here with from 600 to 900 passengers, so that she must have been allowed to carry that number on her certificate from the other side. She never took anything like that number of passengers away with her, however.

"I do not know anything about her lifeboat and life preserver equipment. I am expecting some information on that score by cable,"


The office of the Scandinavian-American Line, at 1 Broadway, was visited yesterday by some of the relatives or friends of passengers who were on the Norge. Everyone was looking for some news of the survivors, and heartrending scenes were witnessed among those who believed that dear ones were lost.

Toward 5 o'clock the names of fifty-five of the survivors who were landed at Stornaway, Scotland, by the British steamship Cervona were made known. Then the several hundred persons who had waited all day for news rushed up to A.E. Johnson, the agent of the line, asking if the names of the saved. The list as received is as follows:


Alson, Anton Kopkin, Arder
Bohn, Edward Kochilia, Simon
Chatzkelowitz, Aron Kochilia, Sam
Chatzkelowitz, Necharus Kodt, Johanna
Choltz, Chaje Knudsen, Jorden
Choltz, Schmuel Lund, Mathilde
Christianson, Christian Lew, Hirsh
Eke, Carl Logan, Schmuel
Ginsberg, Jachs Mehr, Johanna
Ginsberg, Chaje. H.e Mathisen, Karl
Hansen, Wilhem Mathisen, Mrs. and two children
Hansen, Miss. Olsen, Olaf. J.
Hansen, Mrs. Isidor Risman, Rinke and five children
Hansen, Ingrid Rahr, Heinrich.
Hansen, Esther Rahr, George
Hansen, Andrea Selichton, Meier
Henderson, Carl wife and two children Scharf, Abraham
  Sivertsen, Miss
Jensen, Anders Wechsler, C. Ester
Jurgensen, Inys. Wechsler, M. Israel
Jurgensen, Gudrun Wechsler, Mirriam
Jurgensen, Einar Werner, Herman
Jurgensen, Harriett Zernitow, Yudel
Jurgensen, Harold  
Jurgensen, Snyrid  

When some person present heard the name of one he was looking for he was cheered, while, as the names were read off and those for which other persons were listening did not come, the sorrow of others deepened. At last, when the list was all gone over and the agent stopped reading, sobs filled the air and women and strong men stood about the room embracing each other and crying like children.

A man who said he was C. Hendrickson, a mate of one of the harbor steamboats, was among the early arrivals. He was looking for his wife of a few months. In the lists were the names of several Hendricksons, and he was inquiring to learn if any one of them was his wife. He was told that those reported surviving were all from one family.

"Oh, don't tell me that," he cried, "she was all I had in the world, and we have been married only a few months. She was all alone, and could not possibly have been lost. No, I won't believe it. I'll wait for her forever, for I know she has been saved and will return."

As the clerks in the office came to their work they were greeted with a chorus of questions, every one asking for information. During the morning nothing could be done because of the steady stream of people who asked about friends.

Some men told the agent that they had their wives and children aboard the ill-fated vessel, while a few pale-faced and red-eyed women said that their husbands had taken passage to this country on the Norge.

Mr. Johnson did all he could to quiet the people, and to reassure them told them that but a few of the survivors had been heard from, and that later lists might bring the names of many who were looked for.


Christopher Raven, the Consul for Norway and Sweden, and J.E. Leerbach, Consul for Denmark, were among the callers at the steamship office. The former expressed the opinion that most of the passengers were Russians escaping from military service in the Russian Army. He said that few of his people took advantage of the cut priced ships such as the Norge.

The Danish Consul said that he did not know how many of his people were aboard, but that he regretted that there had been even one. He said that he had the greatest confidence in Capt. Gundel, and that although the vessel was lost, it had not been through any bad seamanship or lack of care on the Captain's part.

Mr. Johnson said yesterday that he did not expect to hear that any more people had been picked up from the Norge. He said that it was established that but three boats got safely away from the steamship, and that those three had already been picked up. All of the survivors, he said, would be brought here as soon as their transportation could be provided.

The sale of tickets to Scandinavian ports has not been affected at all by the loss of the Norge. The United Sates which sails to-day has a full cabin and every berth in the steerage has been taken.

Gen. C.T. Christensen, who was mentioned in dispatches as a friend of Capt. Gundel of the Norge, had planned to return to his Brooklyn home on the Norge on the trip when she went down, but through the urgent request of Mrs. Christensen that he return earlier than he had intended, he came on the Norge's previous trip to New York, and thus escaped the terrible catastrophe. The General, whose health is not good, returns to Denmark by the new Danish Line steamship United Sates, sailing to-day.

Norge, Thingvalla and Acandinavian America Line steamship
Norge, Thingvalla and Acandinavian America Line steamship
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A selection of articles dedicated to help you in your genealogy search for your Norwegian ancestors. Transcripts and pictures of historic documents in connection with the ships and emigration. Also including articles about Pioneers & Norwegian Settlements Around the World
Articles about selected ships ships and special events in their history. Descriptions of some of the great maritime disasters involving emigrant ships, like the wrecking of the steamer Atlantic of the White Star Line, sinking of the ocean liner Empress of Ireland and the Thingvalla line steamer Norge disaster. Check this section if you have an interest in shipwrecks.
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