Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 8, No. 1. Friday, March, 2, 1945
Gallant Rescue By S.S. Cobar — Well Known Students Dunked
Gallant Rescue By S.S. Cobar
Well Known Students Dunked
Salient, ever with its ear to the ground, lays bare below the facts behind the grim tragedy that stalked in Wellington Harbour one late Saturday. Principals in the drama of death were Michael Benge, Dennis Hartley and fresher Allan Martin.
All was calm when the yacht "Salome," 005 tons burthen, set sail for Day's Bay. With fair weather on the lee, a trim, snug ship, and a happy crew, the day augured well for the voyage. Up for-and, deck-hand Benge kept a keen lookout for land he, down aft midshipman Hartley hauled on the mainsheet and Skipper Martin kept a weather eye open. The cabin-boy was at the helm. All went merry as a marriage bell. But it was not to be. Suddenly the sea, in one of her smiling, treacherous moods, snuck up and tossed the voyagers out. The boat capsized, and the grim battle 'gainst the fates began. The crew, soaked through to the underwear, cast round wildly for aid. Not a sail was there in sight. Alone on the vast bosom of the ocean they lay, with their ship tossing on the fretful wave. Above, a seagul, lone denizen of the deep, dapped idly. But nothing daunted by the tragedy, the crew:, drilled for such an emergency, were into action. With Hartley straining on the keel, and Benge up the mast pushing, the ship was slowly righted. A frantic struggle took place 'against the elements. As the crew bailed, the waves, mountain high, rolled over the cockpit. Despairingly the crew looked to a watery grave. "Nearer My God to Thee" was sung in chorus as the water lapped round their navels. But ho! A sail! Can it be that help is at hand? It is—it is the good ship "Cobar." laden with emigrants to the new land. She is hailed—she does not see. She sails past—and despair settles again on the stricken ship. But then Fortune smiles—the Captain of the Day's Bay Ferry Boat espies the crew. She comes alongside, the thwarts agog with spectators. Saved, saved in the nick of time! One by one the crew is hauled aboard. But where is Hartley? Drowned! Yes, the body is afloat bottom up, after sticking to the ship to the last. A wreath is thrown from the "Cobar." and the sad ship moves off, with the crew, safe and sound, drying in the boiler room. (It was discovered later that the report of the drowning of this man was slightly exaggerated.—Ed.)
And so ended this tense drama of the sea, with its race against time and the elements. The rescued crew, after their long exposure, were in sad case, but are now fit to receive suitable visitors.