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Failure of the second and third rescue attempts

Failure of the second and third rescue attempts Tom Crean BookAfter an offer had been received and accepted from the Uruguayan government to provide a trawler, Instituto De Pesca No.1, the second rescue attempt got underway on 17th June, a week after her arrival in the Falklands on 10th June. Again, within twenty miles of reaching the island, the trawler had no means of penetrating the ice barrier that halted their progress. With just three day’s supply of coal left, they barely made the journey back to the Falklands.

The sense of urgency became evident as Shackleton telegraphed Buenos Aries on 27th June asking for the despatch of the Argentine steamer ‘Uruguay’ which had rescued the Swedish Expedition in 1903.
Argentina’s Minister of Marine replied stating that it was impossible to send the ‘Uruguay’ as she was not in a serviceable condition.

As there were no other Argentine vessels available, a Reuters correspondent on the 28th June reported that:  “it would be impossible for the party at Elephant Island to be rescued this season.”

With the delays of rescue laying heavy on the minds of the three men and still no vessel available to them in the Falklands, they boarded the mailboat Orita and headed to Punta Arenas where they hoped their fortunes would change.

Within days of reaching Punta Arenas, the financial assistance of the British community had raised £1,500, Shackleton chartered Emma, a wooden schooner with an auxiliary oil engine, and, in an effort to conserve on fuel, they set forth towed by a small steamer, Yelcho, under the kind offer of the Chilean Government. In poor weather, they set out on their mission of rescue on 12th July. In the heavy gales that ensued, the tow rope snapped and Yelcho, with her bilges waterlogged, was granted leave to return to the safety of port.

The Emma, now unaccompanied, sailed on. Tossing violently in the storms that whipped up the waves around them, the motors seized up. The vessel was now entirely dependent on her sails and they continued south. Having reached close to 100 miles of Elephant Island and incapable of forcing a way through the pack ice, yet another futile attempt was abandoned.

Emma sailed back into Port Stanley on 8th August 1916

To discover more about Tom Crean’s full story, the book can be purchased at the following link.

Biography of Tom Crean – Crean – The Extraordinary Life of an Irish Hero