17 September 2017

Drowning tragedy: six lives lost

On Saturday afternoon, a melancholy accident happened on the coast of Cruden.  A boat belonging to Peterhead, on her return from Newburgh, with mussels, struck on a sunk rock off Whinnyfold, when, melancholy to relate, six people, (three men, and three young women) lost their lives, leaving their numerous relatives in a state of affliction more easily felt than described; the father of one of the parties having been an eye witness to the fate of his son.  The boat was seen to upset almost instantaneously, but at too great a distance for immediate relief.  The only survivor of the crew, Robert Sellar, was saved by clinging to the mast, which fortunately floated from the boat, and by laying hold of several oars, which were successively carried to him by the ebbing tide.  Three of the bodies were found in about half an hour, but the vital spark was extinct: these were William Mitchell, who was at the helm, George Alexander, and Christian Souter.  Those still missing are William Sellar, brother of the survivor, Jean Alexander, daughter of the above mentioned G.A. and Janet Mackie.  Two boats were employed during the whole of Sunday, dragging for the bodies missing, but without success.

Published in the Aberdeen Journal, Wednesday 17th January 1817.

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