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  1. #1
    Senior Member Strommer's Avatar
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    Question Wahine disaster - needless deaths?

    Fifty-one people died when the Wahine sank in Wellington Harbour in 1968. These days its unthinkable that so many lives would be lost so close to a major world city/port/capital.

    A question that I have always wondered about: Why didn't the passengers stay on board the ship? The water was extremely rough so thats probably why lives were lost. Photos of the Wahine show it to be grounded, not sinking.

    BTW, apparently many of the lives lost were due to inadequate emergency services on the part of the coast opposite Seatoun. There were 160 kph winds and enormous waves. See: http://www.stuff.co.nz/sundaystartim...0015a6619.html
    Last edited by Strommer; 03-04-2008 at 06:33 AM.
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  2. #2
    Unknown Device wratterus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wahine disaster - needless deaths?

    I did a lot of research on the Wahine a few years ago for an essay.

    I'd agree with you. I'm not sure if the captain/crew knew that the ship wouldn't have capsized...and sometimes rash decisions can be made in the heat of the moment.

    The loss of life was a lot more than it should have been, but everything is always much clearer in hindsight.

    If you want to see, no so much needless loss of life, but a needless disaster, look up the Mikhail Lermontov. That was just a show.
    Last edited by wratterus; 03-04-2008 at 07:25 AM.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Strommer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wahine disaster - needless deaths?

    Quote Originally Posted by wratterus View Post
    I did a lot of research on the Wahine a few years ago for an essay.

    I'd agree with you. I'm not sure if the captain/crew knew that the ship wouldn't have capsized...and sometimes rash decisions can be made in the heat of the moment.

    The loss of life was a lot more than it should have been, but everything is always much clearer in hindsight.

    If you want to see, no so much needless loss of life, but a needless disaster, look up the Mikhail Lermontov. That was just a show.
    Yes, 20 20 hindsight can be very clear. Maybe the ship could have been blown off the sandbar or whatever it was gounded on, and jumping into lifeboats from a capsized ship would be impossible.

    Did anyone stay on board?

    About the Lermontov - yes, that was indeed a huge screw up, totally needless and stupid. I had a colleague who was an expert wreck diver and he went on the Lermontov soon after it sank even though it was against the law to do so. He looked for valuables in the passenger rooms - found a few things but nothing really that valuable and he did not bother to use the credit cards. He said it was like swiming through soup, visibility was less than a meter due to all the paper and other crap that disintegrated. Dangerous work.
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    The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics
    are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.

    ~ Bertrand Russell

  4. #4
    Senior Member Trev's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wahine disaster - needless deaths?

    Well it did sink in the end. If you missed the doco. on TV1 it shows you a shot of it going down with clouds of steam coming up as the water poured down the funnels and got into the boilers.
    Last edited by Trev; 03-04-2008 at 08:16 AM.
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  5. #5
    Unknown Device wratterus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wahine disaster - needless deaths?

    I'm not 100% sure if people stayed on the Wahine or not. I think a few might have, but it was probably more because they were unable to move/overlooked, or there was no room on life boats.

    Only one person died when the Lermontov went down - and 3 have drowned so far diving down to it. Apparently it's the most dangerous passenger ship wreck in the world.
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  6. #6
    Unknown Device wratterus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wahine disaster - needless deaths?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trev View Post
    Well it did sink in the end. If you missed the doco. on TV1 it shows you a shot of it going down with clouds of steam coming up as the water poured down the funnels and got into the boilers. If you missed it I can burn it to DVD for you and send it to you.
    Do you know when it went down? I know it was still semi-afloat the next morning, when the seas had calmed down.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Trev's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wahine disaster - needless deaths?

    I think it was more of it going completely on its side and in doing so the water went down its funnels. I well have to replay it to see. Well let you know later on.
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  8. #8
    morgenmuffel
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    Default Re: Wahine disaster - needless deaths?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wahine_disaster

    Hindsight as mentioned is a wonderful thing, although the ship was still afloat the next day it had rolled completely on it's side, so anyone on boardwould have been screwed from what i can tell

    The problem with these shows is that the make all the alternative courses of action seem plausible, from the little I've read I think the Captain did the right thing, and waiting any longer would have lead to a greater loss of life
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Wahine disaster - needless deaths?

    Quote Originally Posted by wratterus View Post
    Do you know when it went down? I know it was still semi-afloat the next morning, when the seas had calmed down.
    It never completely suck. It actually remained on it's side for over 3 years, and had to be cut up by a salvage teams. I have seen photos of the salvage, with salvaged cars lined up on the side of the ships hull.

  10. #10
    Unknown Device wratterus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wahine disaster - needless deaths?

    Quote Originally Posted by robbyp View Post
    It never completely suck. It actually remained on it's side for over 3 years, and had to be cut up by a salvage teams. I have seen photos of the salvage, with salvaged cars lined up on the side of the ships hull.
    That's right. Thanks for the reminder.
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