Go Back Report # 1023


Fire Balls at Sea        

       One of the most remarkable electrical storms at sea, which probably seemed intensified by reason of the fact that a cargo of Spanish iron ore passed through it, was experienced by the British steamship Mercedes, which arrived at this port recently from Bilbao. On the Grand Banks of Newfoundland during the nights of December 3 and 4, the ocean appeared like a mighty mass of flames or an endless stretch of prairie fires. Balls of electric fire hissed and exploded in all directions and darted among [the] vessel’s masts and ringing. [Sic-should be rigging.] The Mercedes’s escape from going down on December 1 seemed little short of a miracle. She was struck by a south- southwest gale, which was accompanied by seas rolling fearfully high. During the height of the storm a huge deck derrick, weighing many tons, was torn loose from its fastenings and swept overboard, leaving a hole in the vessel’s deck through which the water ran into the cargo. In its course it carried away the maintopmast, which was also of iron, part of the flying bridge, the after winch, and part of the deck fittings. The decks were flooded with tons of water, the ship rolled at an angle of seventy degrees, and the sea broke in all directions, filling the cabin and the officers’ quarters.

       Soon afterward the storm partially subsided, when the electrical fire appeared in all directions. It hung in big balls for two nights from the masts and fore and aft stays and practically turned night into day. As the big fire balls came together, they would burst with a loud report upon the vessel and disappear. Under this light at night, such temporary repairs were made as were deemed necessary to reach port.

       Captain Tait of the Mercedes stated that the passage was one of the most trying experiences of his life. The rolling and lurching of the vessel in the storm and the fury of the gales were terrific in the vicinity of twenty-five degrees longitude. Only the heroic work of the officers and crew saved the vessel.

Philadelphia Record.                                                                                                               

This reference: The Cranbury Press (New Jersey, USA) 10 January 1896, page 4      
With thanks to Peter Hassell of the Magonia Group: http://anomalies.bravepages.com        

UFOCAT PRN – NONE           

Atlantic Ocean

Bilbao, Spain                            Latitude 43-15-00 N, Longitude 02-58-00 W (D-M-S)

Reference: http://www.fallingrain.com/world/            

Newfoundland, Canada           Latitude 49-00-00 N, Longitude 56-00-00 W (D-M-S) [Island]

Reference: http://gnswww.nga.mil/geonames/GNS/index.jsp


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