Lightkeeper Had Only Minutes to Save Frozen Shipwrecked Sailors

Date: 2020-09-12 17:00:11


It was a cold winter morning of January 28, 1885. Fierce winds, blizzard, and freezing temperatures discouraged anyone from wandering outside at Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Head lightkeeper Marcus Hanna was cocooned in a blanket in the safety of the light station known as Two Lights. Sick with a severe cold, he was sleeping after a difficult night shift. The man was unaware of a tragedy that was unfolding not far from his home.

The schooner Australia departed from Boothbay, Maine, at 5 PM on January 27. The ship was heading for Boston, and there were three people on board: the captain and two crew members. At first, the journey was uneventful. But not long after the schooner had left the port, the weather started to worsen. By midnight, a severe storm was pounding southern Maine. In no time, the temperatures dropped below zero. To avoid the worst outcome, the captain decided to seek shelter in Portland Harbor. But luck wasn’t on seamen’s side that night…


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