Total Loss of Adonis 1862


Total Loss of ‘Adonis’ 1862.

We have this week to report the sad loss the above fine screw-steamer of 600 tons burden, belonging to the Waterford Steam-ship Company, unattended however by any loss of life. From the statement of captain Silly, it appears that the ‘Adonis’ left Belfast in good trim on the afternoon of Friday at 8 o’clock, bound for London with a general cargo - and to touch at Waterford on the voyage. There were on board 9 steerage passengers, the captain, 2 mates, 2 engineers, the stewardess, and a general crew consisting of 18 men., the stewardess, and a general crew consisting of 18 men. The vessel passed Kingstown about 2 a.m. on Saturday morning. With a view to avoiding the Kish Bank, and also of keeping in “smooth water” the steamer was kept rather close along shore. At 2.30 a.m. the ‘Adonis’ struck the Mugglins, a dangerous reef of rocks lying to the north of Dalkey Island, which are almost concealed at high water. A few moments before the steamer struck, the captain, who was in charge of the watch with the second mate, had left the bridge to examine the compasses, which appear to have varied to some extent.

While thus engaged, the mate, who was forward on the look-out saw the white gleam of breakers just ahead, and instantly called out to the man at the helm to put the helm hard a starboard. The steamer struck the rocks with a fearful crash, which shook the vessel from stem to stern. On the stopping of the engines the sails caused the steamer to drift away in an easterly direction.. By this time the foremast compartment was almost full of water out of which some of the crew escaped with great difficulty, an aged female being only saved by a man catching her by the hair, and so holding her till assisted.

The loss of the ship appearing now inevitable, the captain ordered the boats, three in number, to be lowered, which was done with much difficulty. Nine persons succeeded in getting safely into the first. In the second boat were stowed 11 others. The captain, the last to leave the ship, with the remaining others , occupied the third. He then ordered the 2 boats to make for the shore. He followed the fast sinking vessel while she drifted till 7 a.m. At that time she was about 5 miles East of Bray Head. He then headed for land and reached Greystones at 11 o’clock a.m. The boats crew were treated with every attention at the Greystones Coastguard Station; the second boat full of shipwrecked seamen, being also kindly treated at the Bray Coastguard Station, where they arrived at 10 a.m., a subscription at once set on foot for their assistance.

The third boat full, consisting of the first mate, the stewardess, and nine men, landed at 7 a.m. close to the Killiney Station, (Railway) and the station-master provided this large, and on so short a notice, unexpected party with tea and every refreshment within his reach. On information being telegraphed to Kingstown and Dublin, the launch of the ‘Ajax’, the Revenue cutter ‘Racer’ and 2 tugs were at once sent southward to search for vessel or the crew. It is now believed the ‘Adonis’ went down 7 miles out to sea, in deep water.

Reference; Wicklow News-Letter Saturday 11th.January 1862.



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