I've heard of going down with the ship...It was only used by those willing to take a chance in order to get good fishing —

Ken Jones

Staff member
Go Down With Decrepit Pier
Men Are Ducked as Ancient Structure Collapses
Hundred People Marooned on Ocean End

Venice, July 12.—With a crash heard for more than a mile five bents of the decrepit Playa del Rey pier gave way and sank into the ocean before noon today. With the debris went Edward Boehring and James Warren of South Flower street, Los Angeles; Charles Burtlip of South Pasadena and John Gough of Azure avenue, Venice. More than a hundred panic-stricken people were marooned on the sea end of the pier by accident. The quartette who went down with the wreckage were partly responsible for the collapse of the aged structure, say the Venice police, who state that the men were teetering on the temporary bridge that had been constructed from the shore end to the ocean end of the structure.

Five years ago the intervening part of the bridge was carried away by a high tide, and temporary repairs were made in lieu of a permanent span.

Rescuers Arrive. The fact that one end of the mass of timbers found lodgment on the rocky shore saved those alleged to be responsible for the accident from getting g more than a scare and a good wetting. They had reached shore by the time Chief Burt Reynolds of the police department and Judge W. A. Rennie arrived in a police car with a rescuing party. The chief at once telephoned the fire department for the hook and ladder company. The blowing of the fire department siren soon brought thousands of beach visitors to the scene.

“Women and children first” was the slogan of the firemen as they went to the rescue of the screaming women and excited men marooned on the sea end of the ancient pier. When the work of placing ladders on the half-submerged wreckage to reach the broken end of the pier fifty feet above began, it was low tide. As the women and children were assisted down the ladders and carefully guided across the jagged timbers to the slippery rocks, the tide gradually rose until the last of the party were wading before they finally got to shore.

Panic Averted. It finally became necessary to stretch ropes from the ladder to the haven above the tide line to prevent slips on the smooth moss-covered rocks concealed by the water.

More than an hour was consumed by the police and firemen in the work of rescue, which was carried out so promptly and systematically that the first panic fear on the part of the crowd on the crazy structure was soon allayed.

The pier had long been in a crippled condition and was used only by those willing to take a chance in order to get good fishing. It is expected that Chief Reynolds will recommend that the structure be condemned when he reports on the accident to the Venice Trustees at their weekly meeting tomorrow. —Los Angeles Times, July 23, 1917

Six years previously, almost to the day — fifty marooned but fishing

Fire And Sea Their Menace

Playa Del Rey, July 27—For several hours this afternoon, fifty fisher folk, men, women and children, were marooned a hundred feet from shore on the deep water end of the recreation pier, and their danger was heightened by fire which broke out. The combined efforts of the crowd succeeded in extinguishing the flames and turning a frolic what for a time threatened to be a calamity.

Suddenly and without previous warning, a fifty-foot section of the pier was washed away from the shore end of the pier. At this season of the year the tides are always exceedingly high and strong, and this is not the first time the Playa del Rey wharf has suffered.

When a part of the pier was washed into the sea a trolley wire was broken and a dangling end set the wooden structure afire. Realizing their extreme danger, the marooned fishers set to work with desperate energy to extinguish the flames.

A hastily improvised bridge strung on wire cables formed the means by which the persons on the wharf were taken ashore during the afternoon. After the fire was put out the peaceful pastime of angling for the finny monsters of the deep was resumed, and until rescuers insisted on the marooned coming ashore, some good catches were made.

The deep water end of the pier seems secure having been reinforced with many tons of rock. The Beach Land Company, owners of the pier, will make repairs at once, including the installation of a new flood gate at the mouth of the lagoon which was washed away last night. —Los Angeles Times, July 28, 1911