The Arctic (1854): Women and Children Last



Accident type: Collision
Vessels involved: SS Arctic and SS Vesta
Location: Cape Race
Date: September 27, 1854
Casualties: 300 people died


Name: SS Arctic
Built in: 1850
Flag: America
Tonnage: 2856 tons
Length: 284 feet

SS Arctic was a 2,856-ton paddle steamer, owned by the Collins Line of New York, which operated a transatlantic passenger and mail steamship service during the 1850s.

The 2,856-ton Arctic, which made its maiden transatlantic voyage in 1850, was known for its speed and could cross the Atlantic in just nine days.  On September 27, 1854, while sailing from Liverpool, England, to New York City, the Arctic collided with a smaller French steamship, the Vesta, in thick fog off Cape Race, Newfoundland.

An estimated 300 lives were lost, only 87 survived the disaster, 22 of them passengers and the rest crew members; none were women or children.  The Arctic’s captain went down with the sinking ship but managed to stay alive by clinging to some wreckage before being rescued by another vessel.  Meanwhile, the Vesta did not sink and instead made it to St. John’s, Newfoundland, on September 30.

Source: Wikipedia