Pegeen

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Pegeen (#) (-1933), cabin cruiser that exploded in Avalon Bay, Santa Catalina Island on August 27, 1933, killing a 25-year-old woman, Mrs. Charles Mackenzie Virian. Six others were seriously injured.



In the News~

August 28, 1933 [LAT]: “Seven trapped in yacht blast. Blown into the sea when the gasoline tanks of their fast cabin cruiser exploded as the craft was leaving Avalon, Catalina Island, yesterday afternoon, one young woman was killed instantly and six others seriously injured and burned. The blast was on the thirty-six foot boat Pegeen, which according to the records of the United States Customs is owned by Russel Keach of 1233 Point View Street, Los Angeles. Mrs. Charles MacKenzie Virian, 25 years of age, living at 6212 Leland Way, one of the passengers on the boat, was dead when her body was recovered from the water. The injured are:

  • Jimmy Burrows, 10, 939 South Gramercy Place, burns on body ans arms and fractured right leg;
  • Mrs. Mildred Burrows, his mother, same address, burns on the body;
  • Miss Ethel Linne, 20, same address, burns on the eyes, cafe and legs;
  • Miss Anona Elmore, same address, burns on the body and hands;
  • Capt. L. R. Shaw, pilot of the boat, residing at the Elks' Club, burns on body and hands;
  • E. J. Thacker, 1230 North Central Avenue, Glendale, burns on the legs and body.

Hank Manington, Metropolitan Hotel, the eighth passenger on the boat, was the only one to escape injury. A dramatic story of the blast and rescue was told by witnesses and by crews of other pleasure boats who rushed to the rescue of the victims thrown into the water. According to their reports, the Pegeen was pulling away from the Avalon pier when the motor backfired, igniting in turn the fumes in the carburetor and in the gasoline tanks. The tanks exploded with a roar which was heard over the Catalina harbor and quickly brought a rush of small boats to the rescue. The first rescued was 10-year-old Jimmy Burrows, who had been standing on the bow of the cabin cruiser, and was blown into the water. He was picked up by Harley Berney and John Rowley, life guards, and rushed to the hospital. Other boats manned by volunteer rescue crews took the other victims and the body of Mrs. Virian to the pier. All of the victims were treated at the Catalina Hospital by Dr. J. H. Strathearn and Dr. Don Bussey. After the blast, the superstructure of the pleasure boat quickly ignited and burned to the water's edge and shortly after the explosion the wreckage sank. Hank Mannington, the only uninjured member of the party, told the harbor authorities at Avalon that he had chartered the boat from Capt. Shaw for the trip to Catalina and return and that he understood Shaw was the owner. Customs records at San Pedro disclosed, however, that Keach was registered as the owner.”