History of the Port

The Accident to the Drogheda Steamer Leinster Lass 1864

LEINSTER LASS. ------------

We are happy to learn, by a letter which has been received by the Drogheda Steamship Company from the Commander of the Leinster Lass steamer, that the particulars of the accident which we published yesterday were in some important points innaccurate, and in its apprehended results very much exaggerated.

The pleasure we feel in at once correcting any erroneous statements we may have unintentionally given publicity to is, on this occasion, very much enhanced by the fact that, instead of having to deplore the loss of fifty fellow-creatures, we are enabled, through the courtesy of the respected Secretary of the Drogheda Steamship Company, to state, that after the most particular inquiry and examination of the number of “missing” passengers is happily limited to three—an announcement, we are sure, which will be received with sincere satisfaction by the public, whose worst apprehensions were most unnecessarily excited by our correspondent.

The authentic facts of the occurrence appeared to be these—At two o'clock the accident occurred by the breaking of the “beam,” and not the piston, as we stated, which made the breach in the bottom of the vessel of about two feet in extent, but fortunately none of the crew in the engine-room were injured, and the water did not rise to mid decks before the screw steamer Torch bore down and rendered effectual assistance, by taking on board all the passengers, and getting the disabled steamer in tow.

It was three o'clock when the Torch took the Lass in charge, and they both arrived safely in Holyhead harbour in about three hours after. The entire number of passengers on board the Leinster Lass, when she left Drogheda, was only 134, not between 250 and 300, as was innacurately stated yesterday ; and on arriving at Holyhead it was found that there were 131 of these present, so it is evident that but three were wanting to fill up the number the Leinster Lass had on board when she slipped her moorings in the Boyne. And those three, it is thought, were lost owing to their having got into one of the boats contrary to the positive directions of the captain.

Soon after those 131 passengers were landed at Holyhead the officers of the Drogheda Company with commendable promptitude, made all the necessary arrangements for their immediate transmission, and they were forwarded by the first train which left Holyhead for their destination, Liverpool, together with their luggage, none of which we understand sustained any injury. The Drogheda Steamship Company have acted on this occasion with a liberality and consideration in perfect harmony with that high reputation which it has ever upheld. Of the conduct of the commander of the Leinster Lass, Captain Toker, it is unnecessary for us to speak.

In the very critical position he was placed by the occurrence, we have been informed he acted with an amount of judgment, coolness, and firmness for which he is already favourably known ; and to Captain Crosbie, of the Torch, much praise and commendation are due for the very valuable, prompt, and efficient assistance he rendered on the occasion. On the whole we may, now that we have before us the authentic account of the mishap, congratulate the public and the Drogheda Steamship Company that an accident, which at first created much alarm and apprehension, and which might have been accompanied with the most melancholy consequences, has been attended with, comparatively speaking, unimportant results.

We, at the same time, have to express to the one and to the other our very sincere regret in having been the means of exciting unnecessary fears, but we are confident both will at once acquit us of having done so intentionally.—

source - The Cork Examiner, 9 May 1864