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Wreck of the Soudan
(From the Illustrated London News, February 27, 1875.)
The African Royal Mail Company's steam-ship Soudan was wrecked on the night of the 2nd inst. in Funchal Bay, Madeira. She was from Liverpool, bound for Madeira and the West Coast of Africa. She had a crew of forty-five, all told, and one passenger, in addition to the mails and a full cargo. On the 2nd inst. she arrived at Madeira, about six in the evening, and came to an anchor off Low Rock. As usual, a gun was fired as a signal to those on shore to come out and take off the mails. It was also the practice for the harbour-master to go out in his boat and give orders where the vessel should anchor, as there are no pilots at Madeira. The harbour-master did not, however, come off to the Soudan, although she made signals and fired guns for three hours. After waiting this time, the captain decided on putting to sea and taking the Madeira mails on to Grand Canary, whence they would be sent back by the next steamer. At this time the vessel had eight and a half fathoms of cable out and was swinging to the anchor. She was about a mile and three quarters off the land, and a strong breeze was blowing. The vessel's head was lying S.S.W., and the wind was from the S.W. The order was given to weigh anchor, and it was got up and dropped several times, for the engines would not work. The captain rang "half speed," and then "full speed," but the engines would not start. The ship was consequently, on the breeze blowing, driven towards the land. They got the anchor up again, but still the engines did not move, and they could do nothing. The wind then drove her on to the land. The engine moved once, but the anchor was not off the ground. They got out the boats, and the crew were all landed, as well as the passenger and mails. The ship went to pieces, and her remains were sold at Madeira for £6666. Our Illustration is from a photograph taken by Senhor Camacho, from one of the turrets of the Governor's palace, on the morning after the wreck.
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