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THE WRECK OF THE MAIL STEAMER KAFFIR. The most exciting event at the Cape has been the wreck of the Royal Mail steamer Kaffir in the neigh- bourhood of the Cape of Good Hope. The Kaffir left Table Bay at half-past one on the 14th of February. The weather was fine; there was a fresh breeze from the west, and the steamer had not been long out of dock before she was bowling along with steam and sail. At half-past five, when she had been only four hours out of dock, she struck, it is supposed, on a small reef known as the Albatross Rock, and situate about eieht miles from the Cape, on the Table Bay side, and about half a mile from shore. It is said by Aiu however, that she did not strike on the Albatross Rock, but one altogether unknown, and that the ship was three miles from the land at the time of the accident. It took twenty minutes' hard steaming to reach the land after she struck. The ship struck tho rock, quivered, and hesitated for a second or so, and then a wave lifted her over the reef, and speedily she proceeded on her course. The shock was not a severe one, indeed it was so slight that the first impres- sion conveyed to some on board was that the engines were racing. This was, however but momentary; astern the water was discoloured as if a mudbank disturbed, and, strange, to say, for the nrst time broken water was seen. There was not a Heavy break on the reef, not much heavier than the feather top between the ship and horizon. The truth was soon known, in a few minutes the first compart- ment was full cf water, and the ship settled down rapidly at the head. Her bottom beneath the two first com- partments had, it was believed, been torn away. It was feared she might sink in deep water, so the engines were worked up to their highest pitch and the nearest land steered for. The coast is a wild and forbidding one, with few places where boats can lana; a dangerous coast for many a mile, with spits of reck and patches of sand and vast fields Th« Kaffir touched bottom at last at a considerable distance from the shoal, and as she settled k ? £ u bertb all her weather boats were smashed !i <S_avy roI1ers which came thundering in. rromptiy the boats were lowered with the women and f rtf'and' steered through the seething suri, tne people were landed after great difficulty, one boat was disabled but the other two returned to the wreck and commenced by taking those men who could not swim. The discipline on board was excellent. The orders were given with calm- rrtfff a u firmness, and were well obeyed. a tvf ^ain effected a landing, but darkness ana the rising 0f the sea prevented them going back again that night. An awful night was spent by tnose on board, some fifty in number, and by those on snore. The women and children on the beach had bu sc.nty clothing, no sails or tents, or anything which could be rigged up for shelter had been landed, jfires were made of the parched bush which grows on tne sandhills, and round the small fires groups sat shivering, while a keen wind blew and rain fell beavily. On board the wreck the men ate their dinner, and it was hoped that the strong hull would last for some hours against the battering of ,w?Te0, But at half-past ten the vessel parted J™1 a»d the bow swinging round formed a breakwater for the stern portion, which drifted much nearer the shore. On the bow were some natives of Zanzibar; among them was the man who i n ""rough Africa with Stanley, and had been le the Cape in consequence of ill-health. This maD was supposed to have been drowned with four era; but early in the morning he was found very snug y lying under a tent made of a blanket, with a n* ,ttre. before him. One native seaman swam M f j midnight, conveying the news that the main- mas, Bene overboard, and that the vessel had partra m two. Throughout the night the men on the w^c together for warmth in the captain's in (a deck house on the poop) or shivered under f.. the cabin, holding on to ropes tied to it. If t cabin had been less strongly built it must have given way beneath the battering of the waves, and tnen tnese men must have been swept into the sea. The crnn held bravely, and with daylight came the lie at. Four trips were made between half-past four and eight o'clock, and then all hands were safe on shore. The news of the disaster reached Oape- town at nine p.m., and the representatives of the com- pany did all in their power to alleviate the distress, uaptain Hoeta proceeded that night to Simon's Bay, and Captain Anderson went down early on the following morning as surveyor. At eleven o'clock night Commodore Sullivan ordered the Uanae, Captain Purvis, and, if necessary, !i tug, to proceed round the coast ina see if it was possible to render assistance. With i ir flu °f the Danae proceeded, but the ] kanr bad gone to pieces many hours before. From I 9imon« Town a waggon with provisions, and acoom- panied by Mr. Runcieman, Mr. J. Black, and Captain Byron, started immediately on the receipt of the news, and joyfully was the assistance hailed. The women were put into the waggon, refreshments were given them, and the men who had worked in the boats and were cramped by the cold were revived with a moderate allowance of liquor. When daylight came these gentlemen from Simon's Bay gave helping hands, and what they did will not be forgotten. Fishermen vied with the sailors in saving life, and in launching the lifeboat through the narrow creek, so happily found on this rock-bound shore. An inquiry is now being held into the cause of the disaster.


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