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Newspaper Page Text
operate on the lakes overcrowded and
underballasted and in other ways un
seaworthy, even predicting loss of life
on a boat tied to the pier, as the East
"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
"And these bureau men in this in
stance the men in the inspection
service, have proved unfaithful fo
"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 Imew 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.
Tf TTTrttilil Tiqtto hoon imncei'Ma fr
:"rry the necessary number of life-1
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
"Of course, they are fighting the
seamen's act .It puts a value upon
human life without considering the r
cost of operation or of lifeboaip. "
"Naturally the owners want to
carry the maximum of people, re
gardless of danger, at the minimum
of expense. Can you blame foxes for
INVESTIGATIONS OF EASTLAND
State and federal grand juries act
ing with the coroner's jury will lay
the blame for the Eastland horror.
The state grand jury and coroner's
jury start work this morning. Before
these bodies hundreds of survivors,
many policemen, several officials of
the steamship company, federal in
spectors and experts on lake traffic
To run through the line of wit
nesses which will be called will take
some time. Meanwhile as sufficient
evidence develops indictments may
be voted and .returned.
Thursday, the federal grand jury,
called by Judge K M. Landis wfll take
up its burden. Landis says that in
view of the fact that federal inspec
tors are blamed by state and city au
thorities all evidence which he holds
will be passed, as used, to the other
The city council will take a hand
in the investigation which every au
thority has ordered. The committee
on harbors, wharves and bridges was V.
ordered to report to the council.
Acting Mayor Moorehouse ordered
closed all city departments except
fire, police and health tomorrow,
when most of the victims of the ship
disaster will be buried.
Divers today saw dozens of bodies
in ship's diningroom. mi