Friday, May 4, 2012

Steamer Carl Gerhard ~ 23 September 1929

Steamer Carl Gerhard
The 244-foot long Carl Gerhard was built in Larvik, Norway. A Swedish-owned iron freighter, she was carrying 1,504 tons of plasterboard and was bound from Mabou, Nova Scotia to Tampa, Fl. She had stranded in the mud off Mabou soon after sailing and was thought to have sustained no damage,
     On September 23, 1929, less than two years after the loss of the Kysikes, the Gerhard was buffeted about by stormy winds off the New England coast and began to ship water. The weather was so overcast that sights could not be taken. According to a statement by Captain A. Ohlsson, they had been lost for 5 days, looking in vain for the stars or sun above, or warning beams of lighthouses on shore. He thought he was at least 50 miles at sea until the moment the Gerhard came to a sudden stop on the outer bar off Kill Devil Hills—she bumped over the sand reef and ran into the sunken hull of the Kysikes.
     Surfman Baum sighted the vessel soon after dawn and summoned the four Coast Guard crews under command of Keeper Herman Smith at Bodie Island Station. The sea was too high and rough for boat service, so the Lyle gun was placed in position. Fortunately, the shot they sent across the Gerhard’s deck was true, for in the words of Captain Ohlsson, “the seas, lashed for days by the strong northeast winds, pounced upon her like a lion upon its prey.” She immediately began to go to pieces.
     There was a woman on board, Mrs. Ethel Adehard, who was the wife of the mate. A crewman came ashore first to test the breeches boy, then Mrs. Adehard, and after her the 20 remaining men. Clothing and personal belongings were left behind, some recovered later, but as the breeches buoy made trip after trip other living things beside the human beings appeared there on the beech—first a dog, pet of one of the crewmen, then a second dog, and finally a cat.
     By noon the rescue was completed and soon afterward Mate and Mrs. Adehard and the crewmen returned to their native land or sought berths on other ships. In a ceremony in New York City, the Coast Guard was honored by the Swedish King for the heroism shown during the eventful rescue.

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