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Newspaper Page Text
, tion Service by Sec'y Victor Olander
' of the Great Lakes Seamen's union.
Warning after warning was sent to
I Sec'y Redfield of the commerce dep't
at Washington, telling of open gang
way and open hatch.es, rusty and 'un
workable; and the department was
asked to give it immediate, attention.
The same defective gangway con
ditions which prevailed on the East
land are claimed by Olander to apply
to other big excursion boats now run
ning. Wm. Nicholas, inspector of U. S.
steamboat service, says his depart
ment does not inspect "stability" of
"Do you mean your department
has no tests nor records as to wheth
er an excursion boat is safe or wheth
er or not it will tip over?" he was
"That is entirely in the hands of
the American Bureau of Shipping,"
replied Nicholas. "They determine
tests and so make inspections." He
said the bureau is outside the govern
ment and is owned and run by ship
During the past year the govern
ment has been able to force the con
structors of new vessels to send us
blue prints," he said. "We have no
blue prints now of the Eastland or
any other vessels built before the
"I have a copy of the Eastland's
record in the Cleveland office of the
U. S. Steamboat Inspection service
in 1913," said Olander. "I made this
copy personally in Cleveland and
know it is correct"
"It states that the Eastland shall
be permitted to carry 143 passengers
in all-the-year-around business. Dur
ing the excursion season it can have
653 passengers if it keeps within five
miles of land. If it stays in water not
deep enough to submerge it then it
can carry 2,000 passengers."
The number of passengers the
Eastland was allowed to carry when
she started on the terrible trip this
morning was fixed by Inspectors Rob
ert Reid and Chas. C. Eckliff of Grand
"She was allowed to carry 2,500,"
said Nicholas at the Federal building.
"Custom house officers were on hand
this morning counting to see that no
more than that went aboard."
"Why permit more people to ride
on boats during excursion season
than than the rest of the year," Nich- F
olas was asked.
"During the warm time of the year
people who have life preservers on
will stay in water a long time, some
times two or three days," said Nich
olas. "The water is warm from May
15 to Sept 15 and in that season
more passengers are allowed."
Victor Olander said the Eastland
sinking backs up the charges made
over and over again in Washington
the past year, when he asked stricter
regulation of boats. He took a Day
Book reporter to the First National
bank, unlocked a safe deposit box and
showed a mass of letters written to
the commerce department pointing
to vicious conditions on lake boats
running out of Chicago.
The Eastland toppled over just as
it moved away from its pier at Clark
street and the river, a little after 7:30
this morning. Cap't Harry Pederson
says the cause was the breaking of
an "air shoot," which let water into
the hold. Few others hold this opin
ion. Most say the boat tipped from
the weight of the people along the
Cap't Pederson says about an even
2,000 were on board. He and First
Mate Bell Fisher were at once placed
under arrest Commissioner of Pub
lic Works Wm. Burkhardt wired to
Chief Healey in Indiana to leave his Ml
vacation and return at once. (
The occasion for the excursionjwas
the Western Electric Co.'s annual trip
to Michigan City. Six boats had been
chartered by the company to carry
10,000 excursionists. The excursion
was at once canceled.
The boat lurched drunkenly just
after leaving the pier. It righted it-