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Steamship Bear Wrecked Near Cape Mendocino1193 viewsSteel steamer; 3 decks, 2 masts; 4,507 tons; 357.5 x 47 x 26.4 feet; 79 crew; 545 passengers; 15 knots. Built in 1910 at Newport News, Virginia. Operated by the San Francisco & Portland Steamship Company, known as the "Big Three", between 1910 and 1916 on Portland to California route. It was during a period of foggy weather on June 14 in the year 1916 that the master of the Steamer BEAR, when his reckoning put him about 15 miles northward of Cape Mendocino, began to take soundings to locate his position and feel his way to the lightship anchored off the cape. The soundings indicated that the vessel had safely passed the cape and the course was changed as usual. About an hour later the vessel stranded two miles north of the cape, oddly enough, near the mouth of the Bear River. Two of the vessel's lifeboats attempted to land on the beach and were swamped in the surf, drowning two women and three men. It was deemed safer to row the other ten lifeboats towards the lightship. Somehow, one hundred and fifty survivors managed to squeeze aboard the lightship and the crew of 11 looked after them until they could be rescued by another ship and a tugboat. A Universal Film Company crew, working in the Hammond Company Lumber Camp for a moving picture starring Helen Holmes, relocated to the area to shoot some footage of the wreck.
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