Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry

SIXTH DAY

 

MICHEL GAGNON,

master, Dominion Government steamer Druid,

 

Sworn.

 

By Mr. Newcombe:

 

5453. You are the master of the Dominion Government steamer Druid?
- Yes, sir.

5454. Are you in charge of the placing of buoys and aids to navigation in the St. Lawrence?
- Yes, sir.

5455. Have you buoyed the place of the wreck of the Empress of Ireland?
- Yes, sir.

5456. Will you look at this chart and state whether you have marked the position there according to cross bearings and sextant angles?
- Yes, sir, that is very, very near the place, anyway, if it is not the place.

5457. How did you ascertain where the wreck was lying?
- With sextant angles.

5458. I know, but in the first place you had to find out where the ship was lying?
- I didn’t discover that myself; the survey boat was there before me.

5459. The survey boat was there taking the soundings?
- Yes, sir.

5460. And they gave you the position?
- Gave me the position of the ship, yes.

5461. And you put down a buoy there?
- Yes, sir.

5462. How, where is that buoy? It is right on top of the wreck, or alongside?
- It is about 100 feet northeast of the wreck.

5463. One hundred feet northeast of the wreck?
- Yes.

5464. And that position is indicated by the dot with the circle round it?
- Yes, sir, that is the position of the buoy. The ship should be a little farther in; about 100' feet farther in.

5465. And these are your sextant angles, describing the location of that buoy indicated on chart?
- Yes, sir. (Chart filed as Exhibit 'E.’)

5466. Will you state what they are, so that we can have them taken down in the evidence?
- St. Flavie church, zero, zero; St. Luce church, 72°, 45'; Father Point lighthouse, 32°, 50'. If you want the bearings I can give you them, too; I have them here.

5467. The cross bearings?
- Yes, sir.

5468. You had better give them.
- Father Point lighthouse, south 54° west 7 miles; St. Luce church, south 21° west 4 miles.

5469. Do you know how much water there is there?
- There are 22 fathoms alongside the ship; where the buoy is anchored it is 27 fathoms.

5470. Have you any information as to how the ship is lying?
- No, sir.

Lord Mersey:
Is this chart marked 'E’ an American chart?

Mr. Newcombe:
It is one of Bayfield’s charts; it is a British Admiralty chart.

Lord Mersey:
How does the point agree with the position marked by the captain of the Storstad and by Captain Kendall? Is it practically the same?

Mr. Newcombe:
They are different charts, my Lord, upon different scales.

Lord Mersey:
Then you are introducing a great deal of confusion. It is extremely troublesome to have different persons marking different charts. Is it of any consequence in this case where the vessel is now lying except to conform the statements of Captain Kendall and the master of the Storstad as to where the accident took place? I suppose that the vessel is lying just about the point where the accident took place.

Mr. Newcombe:
About the point. I do not myself think that it is of very great consequence to establish precisely where she is lying, but I understood it was desirable that we should give the evidence.

Chief Justice McLeod:
There does not appear to be a great deal of difference in that respect between Captain Kendall and Captain Andersen.

Mr. Newcombe:
No.

Mr. Haight:
I should like if possible to have the position laid off on either Captain Kendall’s chart or the mate of the Storstad's chart.

 

By Mr. Newcombe:

 

5471. This chart which you have produced with the position of ihe Empress marked upon it is not the same chart as thait used by Captain Kendall and Captain Andersen in laying down the position of the wreck as they suppose it to be?
- No, sir.

Lord Mersey:
Did not Captain Kendall and the captain of the Storstad use the same chart?

Mr. Haight:
No, my Lord, they have drawn their diagrams, as I understand it, on different charts.

Lord Mersey:
Then am I to understand that the position has been indicated upon three different charts?

Mr. Haight:
The same in form; physically they are different.

Lord Mersey:
They are the same prints?

Mr. Haight:
Precisely.

Mr. Newcombe:
(To witness): Transfer your position as marked on the chart which you produce to this chart ‘C.'

Lord Mersey:
Let him retire into some other room and when he lias done it let him come back again.

 

Witness retired.

 

 

(Witness discharged.)