OCR Interpretation


The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, July 27, 1915, NOON EDITION, Image 4

Image and text provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1915-07-27/ed-1/seq-4/

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an investigation which showed that
boat after boat was being allowed to
operate on the lakes overcrowded and
underballasted and in other ways un
seaworthy, even predicting loss of life
on a boat tied to thepier, as the East
land was.
"Yet the department did nothing.
"Sec'y Redfield I do not hold re
sponsible, for in the multitude of his
duties he has to depend upon his bu
reau chiefs.
"And these bureau men in this in
stance the men in the inspection
service, have proved unfaithful to
him.
"Had they done their duty- the
Eastland would not have been al
lowed to run until finally she fell over
on her side and become a 'coffin ship,'
for she was known all over the lakes
as a 'crank.'
"Inspected in Cleveland in 1913
her excursion permit only allowed
653 people to be carried in addition to
the crew. The inspectors knew her
faults and knew that more than 700
people would prove dangerous.
"But in Grand Haven in 1914 she
was issued a permit for 2,000. Then
this year a permit is issued allowing
the shipowners to load her down with
2,500 people, a load which the poor
old ship could not possibly carry un
less her bottom had been filled with
iron ballast, which was not done.
"It is the System. The existing
laws leave it to the discretion of the
inspectors to fix the number of pas
sengers a ship may carry with safety.
"And the inspectors are appointed
mainly upon the recommendation of
shipowners. And what happens? If
an inspector develops a conscience,
out he goes. There are lots of good
men in the service, but they can do
nothing they are helpless. If they
do do anything they don't last.
"And it is this system the ship
owners that are fighting for a re
peal of the seamen's act A law
which, had it been in force now,
would have prevented the loss of
1,000 lives on the Eastland.
"It would have been impossible to
carry the necessary number of life
boats and rafts for 2,500 as made
necessary under the new law which
goes into effect Nov. 1, and therefore
the number of people would have had
to be cut probably to less than
1,000.
"Of course, they are fighting the
seamen's act It puts a value upon
human life without considering the
cost of operation or of lifeboats.
"Naturally the owners want to
carry the maximum of people, re
gardless of danger, at the minimum
of expense. Can you blame foxes for
eating geese?"
o o
EASTLAND CAPTAIN MAKES A
DAMAGING CONFESSION ,
Cap't Harry Pederson came through
with some valuable information to
State's Att'y Hoyne yesterday. He
promised to tell the prosecutor all to
make sure that he would not be made
"the goat"
How everything was "arranged"
so that Pederson could get a license
from Rob't Heid of Grand Haven,
Mich., federal inspector, to carry
2,500 instead of 2,000 passengers was
contained in his first statement to ,
Hoyne.
"The officials of the company were
very anxious to get the privilege of
carrying 2,500 instead of 2,000 pas
sengers," declared Pederson. "I was
told by one of the officers to apply to
Reid.
"I was told that it was all fixed up
for Reid to give me this privilege and
I guess it was, for he had no hesitan
cy in giving it
"J. M. Ericson, son-in-law of Reid,
came to work on the Eastland soon
after this."
Pederson's statement is understood
to contain startling information
which Hoyne will disclose only in the
process of investigation. Coroner
Hoffman and Michael Sullivan, spe
cial prosecutor, were present during
Pederson's discourse.

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