|Recover Body From “Spray” Disaster
24 Killed, Two Survivors When Fishing Vessel Overturns
Twenty-four persons believed drowned, two boats missing, another boat grounded on the beach, widespread damage at the Point Mugu fish camp, totaled the results of a southeasterly gale which swept this section and brought 1.67 inches of rain for the Oxnard district. It also ended the record-breaking heat wave that gripped this section and Southern California for nine days.
The 24 drowned were passengers on the ‘Spray’ owned by Steckel and Welton of the Point Mugu fish camp. The “Spray” left the fish camp at 8 o’clock Sunday morning for the islands to enjoy a day’s fishing.
On the return trip, battling heavy seas all the way, the “Spray” was within 75 yards of the shore, about three-fourth of a mile west of the Point Mugu fish camp when a huge comber washed over the deck, swept the pilot house which was housing the 24, into the ocean. Miss Genevieve Force, 2617 112th street, Lynwood and Abe Agins, Warner Brothers paint set foreman of 1420 Maltman street, Los Angeles, were the only survivors.
In addition to the “Spray” fear was felt for a time for Lester A. “Butch” Wilson’s “Falcon”, but when Capt. Wilson saw the raging sea, he went south to San Pedro where with Coast Guard cutter assistance he went inside the harbor at San Pedro. This morning he came back to Hueneme and anchored inside the Hueneme basin. A coast guard cutter accompanied the “Falcon” north.
The third boat, just reported, was the “Loura” also owned by the Point Mugu camp company. It left with a company of Venturans, who chartered the boat for or five days ago. Those on the boat are employees and dealers of the McCormick Oil company.
The “Loura”, according to advices, stayed at Anacapa overnight, not risking the trip back to the coast.
The fourth boat which is still missing is the “Marlin”, in charge of Capt. Anderson. On board the “Marlin” were two passengers, as yet unidentified.
The damage at the Point Mugu fish camp is quite extensive. The wharf has been washed out, there are cottages floating in the slough, the other tent cottages have been ripped, flooded and sanded, and the main building has been undermined on the seaward side. All the buildings at the camp have been flooded and sand covers the floor.
—Oxnard Daily Courier, September 25, 1939
Recover Second Body Found East Of Hueneme Wharf
Thrilling Rescue Seen As 17 “Loura” Passengers Land
The second body, that of a man, apparently a victim from Sunday’s disaster of the “Spray” was recovered at 1:45 p.m. today, when it was found by Walter B. Moranda just east of the Hueneme Wharf.
It was the body of a man between 30-32 years old, dressed in blue bib overalls, red tan sweater, tape on left hand, and two gold teeth. Blue gray socks and brigan shoes clothed the feet.
Sheriff Howard Durley, Deputy, Sheriff Carl J. Wallace and Coroner Ted Mayr removed the body to Reardon’s mortuary at 3:30 o’clock.
“Finis” was written and happily too, for passengers of the “Loura” and the “Falcon”, two of the boats which rode out the 60 to 65 mile per hour gale which swept the California coastline Sunday night.
The “Falcon” rode into Hueneme harbor Monday morning about 9 o’clock after the Coast Guard cutter “Hermes” picked up the passengers while in mid-channel and the “Loura” came into Point Mugu fish camp about 3 o’clock Monday afternoon.
The transfer of the passengers from the “Loura” to the shore was as exciting as the trip itself.
With Deputy Sheriff Freeman Bliss in the water, swimming around despite the incoming tide, a life line was stretched between the ship and the shore.
Then the 17 men, 15 passengers and two crew members, hand over hand came in from the ship. Loyd Estes was the first and as he came in the swells rose above the rope. But with a life preserver around his waist the swells raised him up and he came safely, although wet.
E. L. Bolyard, Ventura, was on the water for the first time in his life. He had been sick all the trip and was so weak that he could not bring himself in on the rope hand-over-hand as the others had done.
To bring him in, two young men risked their lives to push a boat through the breakers to the “Loura” where they succeeded in putting Bolyard in the bottom. Then they started for shore. In the second line of breakers the boat overturned. Bolyard was thrown out but fortunately Deputy Sheriff Bliss was near and grabbed him, bringing him the remainder of the way to safety.
At the same time, however, Capt. Floyd Lynn, who was also a passenger, was knocked unconscious by the boat and only by the work of others was he saved from being dragged out to sea by the high tide.
—Oxnard Daily Courier, September 26, 1939
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