Captain Haskels Pumps at Work.
Part of the crew of tbe unfortunate coal ship Gosford arrived yesterday on the steamer Caspar from Hueneme. Captain Anfindsen of the Caspar tells the story of sighting and helping the Gosford when he discovered her in a distressed condition near Point Conception.
"It was somewhere about 9 o'clock on the morning of the 22d," he said, "when we were standing around Point Arguello. We saw signals of distress flying from the masthead of an English ship standing in toward shore. Smoke was pouring out of her hatches and I immediately surmised that the vessel was a coal ship and on fire. We changed our course and stood in toward her and found her to be the British ship Gosford from Liverpool for San Francisco.
We ran alongside and offered to take the crew off as she was all ablaze below and her side plates and decks were almost red hot in places
." Captain Anfindsen then described in detail the burning of the Gosford. It had been a week since the time the vessel had been discovered to be on fire, and Captain Chapman had about given up all hopes of saving her.
Tbe members of the Gosford's crew who came up on the Caspar said that owing to the prompt assistance rendered by tbe Caspar tbev did not actually suffer by tbe heat as they might have done had their ship been further out to sea and out of tbe path of coasters. No great heat was felt in the cabin or forecastle until two days before the Caspar was spoken. The decks had, however, become so hot by that time, that it was hardly possible to sleep forward.
The pumps were worked, but they had little effect on the flames. Between decks and beneath the main hatch the cargo was a glowing mass of live coals, upon which water had no effect
When the Caspar reached Coho, about two miles south of Point Concepcion, with the Gosford in tow it was about 1:20 o'clock in the morning of the 23d. Quite a breeze was blowing and something of a sea was running. The Gosford let go one of her anchors, and the crew of the Caspar assisted the ship's men to pump. The Caspar had her pumps working at full pressure also. The inflow of water did nor seem to have any effect on the flames, and in less than half an hour from the time the anchor was dropped the Gosford's deck, from the mainmast aft, was a sheet of flame.
It was a cloudy night and the sky was illuminated with the reflection from the fire for miles. Flames shot up in tbe rigging as high as the topgallant yards, and those on board had to make haste to get on the Caspar for safety.
An attempt was made to open tbe seacock, which was successful, but the vessel filled very slowly. Her side plates were red hot, and down near the water's edge, abreast of the mainmast, the water bubbled and hissed from the great heat of the iron sides.
Captain Chapman did not forsake his ship until after 4 a.m. on the 23d, when all hands went on board the Caspar. The latter remained alongside until the arrival of the tug Fearless. Captain Haskell of the Fearless lost no time in getting every available pump of his boat to work, and in a few hours tbe desired effect was visible. Tbe Gosford commenced to sink slowly.
When the Caspar left the Fearless had run tbe ship within 600 feet of the beach and had sunk her in five fathoms of water.
Captain Haskell intends pumping her out again after stripping her, so Captain Anfindsen thinks, and will tow her to this city. Yesterday afternoon the Spreckels Tugboat Company decided to sent the Relief to Coho to help the Fearless. Wrecking apparatus was placed on board the Relief and she was provisioned for a cruise.
The ten men of the Gosford who came up on the Caspar went before the British Consul yesterday morning and will be looked after. It is thought that the ship's hull can be saved, together with much of her rigging. The cargo of coal will not necessarily be a total loss, but this cannot be determined until later.