Today in History: In 1854 Ships Collide Off Newfoundland

Sudden and heavy fog causes two ships to collide; killing 322 people off the coast of Newfoundland on this day in 1854.

The Arctic was a luxury ship, built in 1850 to carry passengers across the Atlantic Ocean.

It had a wooden hull and could reach speeds of up to 13 knots per hour, an impressive clip at that point in history.

On September 20, the Arctic left Liverpool, England, for North America.

Seven days later, just off of the Newfoundland coast, it came into a heavy fog.

Unfortunately, the ship’s captain, James Luce, did not take the usual safety measures for dealing with fog—he did not slow the Arctic, he did not sound the ship’s horn and he did not add extra watchmen.

 

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