View Full Version : The story of a shipwreck

21-02-18, 12:16
I hope to get help to translate the attached newspaper notice from Keski Soumi 30.08.1884 (right column) . English or swedish is OK.
It is about an accident with the steamer "Jämsä". The captain is said to be Bäckström, probably my Great grandfather Albert Edvard Bäckström.
Best regards
Knut Torsethaugen

21-02-18, 16:23
A shipwreck, of a dangerous kind, happened last Tuesday on Lake Päijänne. The Steamboat Jämsä traveling from here to Vesijärvi accidentally ran onto a rock near Hinttula, which it rode over, but suffered such extensive damage, that in a blink of an eye water started to rush into the ship. When the captain noticed this, he ordered to turn the engines back on, since they had been turned off as the accident happened, so that they'd reach the nearest islet. The boilerman managed to fulfill this order, although the boiler room was halfway filled with water by that point, so that the ship could reach the intended islet before sinking.

It is said that the sinking took 10 minutes, and then that beautiful vessel, laying on its side, sank into the waters so that only the very tip could be seen. The travelers and the staff, in number about thirty persons, were saved onto the rocky islet in little time using the boats of the ship. Foremost the manliness of Captain Bäckström is congratulated during this rescue mission, which happened quickly and without panic. Also comendable, is the work of the boiler man, as he still managed to get the machine running, even though the water around the boiler was bubbling and popping.

The reason for the accident is said to have been the carelessness of the helmsman, after he left the rudder, leaving an inexperienced man in his place. Upon return he noticed that the ship was off-course. Then he turned the rudder to fix the course - and ran to the rocks.

Divers have been called to lift the ship.

This accident is a huge loss to the owner of the ship, not only due to the repair costs, but also because the best business season slips through their fingers.

21-02-18, 16:34
There's also an article about the accident in Suomen Wirallinen Lehti from 29.8.1884:


This piece of news from Uusi Suometar tells us that the ship has been fixed:


21-02-18, 18:48
The Suomalainen Wirallinen Lehti article is, as follows:

A shipwreck on Lake Päijänne.

In Uusi Suometar it is written: The steamboat Jämsä sailed on Wednesday around two o'clock onto a rock on Lake Päijänne between Hinttola and Virmaala. The back end of the ship is laying so that the waves can sweep the deck of the ship. The steamboat Haapakoski happened to sail behind with a raft, and took the passengers of Jämsä onto its deck and took them to the Vesijärvi harboru.

A passenger told to the newspaper H. D. about the shipwreck as follows:

Jämsä, which leaves from Jyväskylä 4 o'clock every morning, could only leave at 7 am due to fog. There were forty people aboard and the lake was totally calm. The commander (komentaja) wasn't the actual captain of the ship, but another certified captain, who had been the ships lower chief (alipäällikkö) many years and several times before had acted as the captain's substitute.

The larger part of Lake Päijänne had been sailed when as suddenly, between Sysmä and Hinttola at 2:30 am, as the passengers and the helmsman were having lunch, there was a terrible tremor, which caused a horrible chaos in all parts of the steamer. People fell down, tables, chairs and all loose things, fell down and water began to flow into the salons and to the boiler room. Luckily no explosion took place, thanks to the dutifulness of the boiler user; water had reached his waist before he left the boiler room.

The helmsman had, when going to eat lunch, showed the rudderman where they should head on the open water, where the boat was then sailing. But as the helmsman after a short while returned to the deck they noticed that the ship was on the wrong path for an unknown reason, and it was heading straight between two islets. The helmsman immediately noticed the danger, but it was already too late to stop what was about to happen. So the steamer crashed full-speed onto the underwater rock, passed over it, but as aforementioned, water started to flow in in every part.

The chief, like all the passengers, rushed to the deck, and headed to the nearby rocky islet, which, during normal water levels, is above water. The front of the ship grabbed onto the islet, while the back kept sinking until the water covered the deck. It could be seen that the rudder had hit bottom and the ship slowly fell onto one side.

Meanwhile the lifeboats were detached and the passengers were taken, some onto a nearby shore, some onto the mentioned islet. The distress was quite large, especially children were upset, but the calm actions and instructions of the chief calmed the fear of everyone.

When the passengers and their luggage had been saved from the shipwrecked vessel, a few men were sent to fetch help from a nearby logship, which they had passed a half an hour or so before.The ship, one of captain W. Ruth's steamers, by the name of Ukko, which was pulling logs, hurried to the site of the accident, but as the passengers of Jämsä were getting aboard the ship and steamer approached, namely Haapakoski, which was dragging a raft. Because Ukko could not have left the logs at the mercy of the wind onto the lake, Haapakoski took upon the duty of saving the passengers. They reached Lahti at 11 pm without incident. Jämsä's chief and crew had stayed on the wreckage in the meantime.

The Uusi Suometar article from 18.9.1884 is short and simply states:

The Steamboat Jämsä, which around the end of August wrecked on Lake Päijänne, has now been fixed in Lahti and has started regular sailing again.

22-02-18, 14:46
Thanks a lot for the translation, especially for finding and translating the article in The Suomalainen Wirallinen Lehti.
The statement that the captain during the shipwreck was not the regular captain, solved a problem I have.
The captain of "Jämsä" for this period was according to several newpapers advertisements A. Hertsberg.
So thanks again