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Jim Kershner’s This day in history » On the Web:

Sat., July 2, 2011

From our archives, 100 years ago

The bedraggled passengers of the sunken steamship Spokane arrived back in Seattle from the wreck site in British Columbia – and they were angry.

The rescue effort “was the most bungled piece of business I ever saw,” said one passenger from California. He stood on deck and watched crewmen try to launch one lifeboat, which ended up dangling from a davit. Two other lifeboats made it into the water – without their plugs.

One woman said she was in a boat filled with women that was starting for shore when two of the boat’s stokers leapt in from the deck, and capsized it. Another passenger said he saw two lifeboats heading for shore containing one Spokane crew member each – and no passengers. He called it “criminal bungling.”

Dozens of passengers simply jumped into the water. It was a miracle that there were only two fatalities. One woman was found drowned in the ship’s lavatory and another died later, on the rocky shore, from exposure. The passengers had to spend a wet night around campfires.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1776: The Continental Congress passed a resolution saying that “these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States.” … 1961: Author Ernest Hemingway shot himself to death in Ketchum, Idaho.

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