This is the sad story of a disaster that never should have happened. When the steamship Vestris pulled away from her Hoboken pier on a sunny day in November 1928, headed for Buenos Aires,
carrying almost 8,000 tons of cargo, 128 civilian passengers, and 197 crew members, all seemed well. In truth, she was a decrepit old ship, not seaworthy in anything but the best of weather. The weather on this trip would prove too severe for this tired vessel.
Even so, the Vestris might have survived had it not been for a series of blunders by both the ship's crew and her officers. These errors, combined with a sinister turn of events below decks, doomed the ship. She went down to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean on Monday, November 12, 1928, with the loss of 111 lives, most of them passengers-including all 13 children and 28 of the 36 women.
There were 214 survivors, 60 of them passengers. These are their stories as told in their own words.
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About the Author
Kristin Delaplane is an author and biographer, a former columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, California history columnist, museum oral historian and former oral history methods educator for University of California, Davis. She is also the author of Storytelling: How to Write an Inspiring Memoir, Oral History, or Family Genealogy.