all of the experienced crew were in the forward part of the
Sevona, the after boats were piloted by the ship's
staff, and passengers, who were largely unfamiliar with
boat handling. Even the most experienced mariners would have
had difficulties managing the boats as they plunged and corkscrewed
through the wild seas.
Phillipi's boat made a brave but unsuccessful attempt to rescue
the forward crew and spent six terrifying hours at sea before
reaching land at Little Sand Bay, where the passengers were
assisted by a farmer looking for storm-spooked cattle. Harry
Van Vlack, the Sevona's one-armed
, worked furiously to bail out the smaller lifeboat with
his cap, keeping it afloat long enough to blow ashore at East
Bay, Sand Island.
, and two watchmen, who were at the front of the ship,
were lost. They died while trying to make it to Sand Island
on the raft they made of the Sevona's hatch covers.
Apparently, the forward lifeboat had been removed and not
replaced during the Sevona's rebuild.