|At 10 PM, October 23, 1918, the Canadian Pacific
passenger ship, the Princess Sophia left port at Scagway, Alaska
with 298 passengers, men, women and children, largely from Dawson City,
Yukon, and a crew of 65. It was during a blinding snow
storm. By 2AM October 24, she was steaming into an area known as
Vanderbilt Reef. Problem was that the Sophia did not
realize that they were so close to the Reef because they had not yet
detected a navigation error that had them 2 miles off course.
The Sophia struck and became stuck on the reef (see
picture at right). The Sophia's Captain Locke, sent
a telegraph message of their distress to the his Agent
in Juneau, who, in turn, despatched two ships to effect support to the Sophia.
The two ships, the King and Winge, and the Cedar, arrived
on scene but were unable to assist due to the heavy seas. Both
vessels anchored close by with their lights burning, to offer moral
support to the Sophia. By morning the storm had grown worse
and the two support vessels were forced to leave.
When the support vessels returned the next morning, August 25, they
were horrified to find that the Sophia had sunk. All that
remained to see was the Mast sticking up out of the water (see
picture at left). All the passengers and crew were lost!
The only survivor of the Princess Sophia was a small dog which had
swum to a local island and was recovered a few days later.