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New York, NY Drownings and Rescues, Jul 1901


Rescues Attended by Acts of Heroism and Self-Sacrifice---Two Accidents on the Harlem

A number of persons were drowned and many were rescued from a watery grave in the rivers, and at various seaside resorts where the people crowded from the city yesterday in search of cooling breezes. Some of the rescues were effected under most exciting circumstances, in which the qualities of heroism and self-sacrifice were conspicuously exemplified.

In the Harlem River one life was lost and seven lives were imperiled by the capsizing of two boats. Both contained fishing parties, and both accidents were caused by the imprudence of members of the parties in attempting to change seats.

The first occurred in the afternoon off One Hundred and Fifty-eighth Street, and resulted in the drowning of Augustus Willis, twenty-five years old, of 664 East One Hundred and Fifty-third Street, whose body was carried away by the ebb tide and not recovered.

Willis and Leonard Martin, who lives at the same address, were fishing opposite the house of the Nassau Boat Club, near One Hundred and Fifty-eighth Street, when they were hailed by two men who were on shore. The two strangers, who proved to be James Osborn of 271 West One Hundred and Fifty-fourth Street and William Roff of 2,914 Eighth Avenue, asked to be taken in the boat also, as it was hot ashore and the fishing not very good. Willis and Martin consented, and the four were soon in midstream.

In trying to change his position, one of the new-comers stumbled over Willis, which caused the boat to tilt to one side and then overturn. All but Willis swam ashore. It was not until they were standing on the float of the Nassau Boat Club that the other three became aware that he was missing.

Martin, who is an expert swimmer, removed his clothing, swam to where the boat had capsized, and dived several times for Willis's body, but unsuccessfully. The case was reported to the police of the West One Hundred and Fifty-second Street Police Station, and a systematic search for the body made, but without results.

The other accident occurred a couple of hours later, at 6:30 o'clock, off One Hundred and Fifty-third Street. Edward Green, his brother, George, of 126 West Twenty-Seventh Avenue; Robert Brown of 459 Seventh Avenue, and Patrick Gallagher of 467 Seventh Avenue, had been fishing from a skiff and were returning, when they attempted to charge seats in the boat. At that moment a steam launch was going by and the swell she caused upset the boat and the four occupants were held captive under it.

From the shore the accident was seen by Frederick Kaska, a member of the Atalania Boat Club, which is at the foot of One Hundred and Fifty-third Street; James Mulhearn, janitor of the Lone Start Boat Club, adjoining, and Joseph Lisson, a boat builder. These three men hastily manned a boat and rowed out to the rescue. They seized the overturned skiff by the gunwale and righted it. Edward Green had disappeared.

The other three men were helped into the rescuers boat, and Kaska dived after the missing man. His first attempt was unsuccessful, but the second time he reappeared with the unconscious form of Green in his arms. Upon reaching the boathouse of the Lone Star Club, Dr. Yankaw, a member, worked for three-quarters of an hour and finally brought Green back to consciousness. He was then taken to the J. Hood Wright Hospital, where it was said he would recover. The others were none the worse for their experience and went to their homes.

Mr. Kaska is quite a well-known athlete, a civil engineer by profession, and lives at 617 West One Hundred and Thirty-eighth Street. He was a gunner during the Spanish-American war. Together with Jeff Mulcahey, Kaska won at Philadelphia, last week, a four-oared race against a number of competitors. About a month ago he attempted to rescue a boy in the Harlem, but the lad was dead when he reached him.

The New York Times, New York, NY 22 Jul 1901

article | by Dr. Radut