Thursday, October 29, 2015
Captain Bell's narrow escape 1854
William Bell was an active Port Captain, not spending every hour at Natal writing reports or making lists of passenger arrivals.
The frequent trips which Bell undertook in all weathers in the Port Boat between the harbour and the vessels at anchor, were hazardous. He narrowly escaped drowning in September 1854, when coming ashore in the early hours from the Princeza.
The night was very dark and the Port Boat filled with water in the heavy surf, Bell and his crew being immersed chest-deep before abandoning her and slowly groping their way to land without a light. If the incident had taken place a yard or two nearer the deep water channel, all the men would have been lost.
From The Natal Mercury, Supplement 27 September 1854