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From the Sunderland Daily Echo July 29th 1890

Boating Accident at Sunderland

Five Persons Missing

A party of five persons consisting of Mr. George Knight, his wife, George Johnson, his little girl and a man named M. Gill, all belonging to Wardley Colliery, hired a small boat from the beach at Roker on Saturday, and not having returned are supposed to have been drowned. A strong westerly wind blew the boat to sea, and those on shore noticed that its occupants were attracting the attention of a passing steamer. When the vessel had passed nothing was seen of the boat, and it was supposed that they had all been taken on board. Yesterday however, the boat was picked up, bottom upwards, at Whitburn, by some fishermen and great fears are entertained by the friends of the missing people, who to-day have been making enquiries in the town. Hopes are entertained that the boat was cast adrift after  the parties were taken on board the steamer.

This afternoon while a boatman was rowing towards Roker from the direction of Whitburn, he came across a body floating about a mile out at sea. He picked it up and brought it to Sunderland. The body was that of a tall man, respectably dressed, and supposed to be that of the man Johnson, who was one of the missing trippers. If this surmise be correct there can be no further doubt that the whole party, five in number, are drowned. They all belong to Wardley and came to Roker on a pleasure trip on Saturday, July 26th, proceeding in a boat to sea. Their names are:-

George Knight
Mrs Knight, his wife
George Johnson
A little girl, Johnson's daughter
A man named McGill

A boatman who let them the pleasure boat, asked them to take boatman with them, but they declined. One who saw them enter the boat remembers their positions as they left the shore. A man and a woman were sitting in the middle seat, while the other man was sitting at the stern. Thus witness's conclusion that in changing places the man at the stern had stepped onto the side of the craft instead,  of passing between the occupants of the middle seat, and thus caused the boat to overturn. It appears this is a frequent practice with trippers. Most of the occupants of a pleasure boat wish, as a rule, to have a turn at the oars, and very few of them exercise care in the changing of seats.
The schooner which was seen to pass Souter Point at the time of the accident is supposed to have occurred has arrived in Scotland. She turns out to be the Panhope. The Master has written in reply to inquiries stating b that when passing Souter Point on the day of the accident, he saw a boat containing several people, but there was a rather rough wind blowing, and he could not distinguish the number of persons. He was over half a mile seaward from the boat.

Souter Point 2013

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