"ANOTHER STEAM SHIP SUNK - THE CIMBRIA RUN DOWN--FEARS THAT MANY LIVES WERE LOST"
Front page of the "New York Times", Sunday, January 21, 1883:
"ANOTHER STEAM SHIP SUNK - THE CIMBRIA RUN DOWN--FEARS THAT MANY LIVES WERE LOST".
Hamburg, Jan. 20. --The Hamburg American Line steamer Cimbria, which left Hamburg on
the 17th inst. for New York came into collision with the British steamer Sultan, on Friday
morning, off Borkum, an island of Prussia, in the North Sea, 26 miles north-west of Emden.
The Cimbria quickly sunk. A boat which has arrived at Cuxhaven has landed 39 persons.
Six steamers have been sent out to search for the other boats of the Cimbria. The Cimbria
was to have left Havre today for New York.
"The Messrs. Kunhardt, agents of the Hamburg-American Line, received the following
dispatch last evening:
'Hamburg, Jan. 20
'The Cimbria was sunk Friday morning, 12 miles south west of Borkum, by the British
steamer Sultan. She sank 15 minutes after collision. Thiry-nine persons landed at
Cuxhaven this evening. Other boats still out. Our steamers Bavaria and Hausa and
several tugs leave immediately for search of other boats.
"The Cimbria was a vessel of 3,015 tons burden, and drew 22 feet of water. She was
built at Greenock, Scotland, in 1867, by Cairol & Co. She had three decks, was 323 feet
long, 40 feet beam, and her depth of hold was 26 feet. She was brig-rigged, and had six
builk-heads, and was rated A1 by the American Lloyds. She had 7 water tight compartments
and carried four boilers. Her officers were: Commander--Capt. Hansen...
"Mr. J. F. H. Meyer, of the firm of Kimhardt & Co., general agents for the line was found
last evening at his residence in Hoboken. The steamer, he said, according to his
estimate, had on board from 20 to 30 cabin passengers and about 500 passengers in the
steerage. The collision happening, as the dispatcher stated, in a dense fog, it was
possible that there had been a large loss of life. The officers and crew of the vessel
numbered about 110 persons. Capt. Hansen, who had commanded the ship for nearly
a year was about 40 years of age, but had been employed by the company previously on
its line to the West Indies. The Cimbria would, if the accident had not happened, have
touched at Havre yesterday, and would have left New York for Europe on her return trip on
Feb. 8. Mr. Meyer thought that the collision did not occur off Borkum Island, as the dispatches
stated, but off Borkum Reef, some distance from the island. This place is about 10 or 15
hours' sail from Hamburg, which is situated about 50 miles away on the Elbe River. The
steerage passengers, he believed, consisted of German peasants, and the cabin passengers
of German and German-Americans. The steamer Sultan, which ran down the Cimbria, plied
between Hamburg and Hull. The Cimbria was well equipped with life-saving appliances
having eight large life-boats which would each hold 65 persons, but Mr. Meyer was of the
opinion that at least two of the boats had been destroyed in the collision. The steamer was
a twelve-mile vessel. Two years ago compound engines and new boilers were placed in her.
She was thoroughly inspected before every voyage..."
Then Monday, January 22, 1883, "The New York Times", reported our "lost relatives"
on their front page -- perhaps the only time one of our relatives made its front pages!
They were found in the column "THE LIST OF THE MISSING." Ernst Horn. Wilhelmme
(sic) Horn. Johann Riemath. Carl Riemath. Anna Riemath. Helene Riemath." We shall
quote other sections of the front page of the same newspaper:
"LOST IN THE NORTH SEA -- OVER THREE HUNDRED PERSONS GO DOWN WITH THE
CIMBRIA - VESSEL SUNK ABOUT 2 o'CLOCK IN THE MORNING -- NO TIME FOR LOWERING
BOATS -- THE PASSENGERS GIVEN LIFE BELTS -- A LIST OF 364 MISSING PERSONS -- THE
CAPTAIN AND FIRST OFFICER PROBABLY DROWNED."
"LONDON, Jan. 21. -- The Hamburg - American steamship Cimbria, while on her way from
Hamburg to Havre, was run into Friday morning during a dense fog by the British steam-ship
Sultan. The Cimbria sank in a few minutes. The disaster occured in the German ocean
off the Island of Borkum, 26 miles northwest of Emden.
"The Cimbria left Hamburg on Thursday, with 380 passengers and a crew numbering 110.
She ran aground before leaving the Elbe, but got off with the flood tide, with the assistance
of the Hansa, without having received damage, and she put to sea at 2:30 o'clock in the
afternoon. On Friday morning she came into collision with the steamer Sultan. The
Cimbria sank in a short time. A boat with 39 passengers arrived at Cuxhaven Friday
night and the company sent out the steamer Hansa and the four largest available steamers
at Cuxhaven to search for other boats of the Cimbria . . .
"4:30 P.M. -- Details of the Cimbria disaster now being received show that the loss of life
must have been fearful. The Cimbria received such severe injuries in the collision that it
at once became apparent she must sink almost immediately. The officers, therefore, did
all in their power to save lives. Without a moment's loss of time life belts were distributed
among the passengers, and an order was given to lower the boats. This however, in
consequence of the vessel's keeling over on her side, was found to be very difficult on one
side and absolutely impossible on the other. As the second officer was still engaged
in cutting the spars loose, so that there should be as much drift-wood as possible for the
people to cling to when the inevitable foundering occured, the vessel went down under his
feet. He seized a spar, but, as several other persons clang to it, was obliged to let go, and
he swam to a boat. This boat was subsequently picked up by the Theta. The second
officer steered the Theta to Cuxhaven, arriving there at about 6 o'clock. Seventeen other
persons have been saved by the steamer Diamant from the Wesar Lighthouse, making 56
thus far known to have ben rescued. . .
"Mr. Meyer thought it very strange that the Sultan did not remain on the scene and at least
make an attempt to rescue some of the Cimbria's people. She seemed, instead, to have
gone directly on to Hamburg, although she was in a condition to have remained some hours
longer than she did. The officers of the Cimibria, had done everything in their power to
save life, but the great trouble seemed to have been that the ship had keeled over to one
side, so that during the 15 minutes that she remained afloat after the collision it was very
difficult to lower boats on one side of the ship, and absolutely impossible to launch them
on the other. One-half of the boats hung in davits on the side from which they could not
have been lowered. . ."