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Vincent, Ralph Peacock Spit Ships
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Wreckage of steamship Laurel near mouth of Columbia River

Aerial photograph of part of the steamship Laurel after it wrecked on a sandbar near the North Jetty at the mouth of the Columbia River. According to reporting in the Oregon Journal, the steamer, carrying a load of lumber, encountered high seas from a gale as it left the river on Saturday, June 15, 1929. Around 2:30 or 3 a.m. on Sunday, June 16, the ship struck a sandbar and broke in two. One crew member, Russell Smith, died when a wave swept over the ship and he was washed overboard. Rescue boats retrieved the remaining crew members on June 16 and June 17, except for the captain, Louis Johnson, who initially refused to leave. He was rescued on Wednesday, June 19. A photograph similar to this one was published on Page 1 of the Oregon Journal on Tuesday, June 18, 1929, under the headline "All Hands Off But the Skipper -- And He's Still There." That photograph had the following caption: "In this remarkable air view of the wrecked hulk of the steamship Laurel lying in the breakers off North jetty beach the figure of Captain Louis Johnson shows near the rail as he waved goodbye to The Journal plane which circled over him Monday afternoon. The plane, piloted by Dick Rankin of the Rankin System, Inc., carried Ralph Vincent, Journal staff photographer, who took the picture, and Dick Rummel of The Journal staff." The photograph accompanied two articles about the Laurel shipwreck, one titled "Gale Balks Effort to Rescue Skipper; Seas Pound Laurel," and another titled "Journal Men Get Air View." Image note: The text "S. S. Laurel" is written on the negative and is visible on the right side of the image.

Vincent, Ralph