The first modern account of the most spectacular rescue in history. In 1825, the Kent, an East Indiaman, set sail for India with a crew and nearly 600 passengers, mostly men of the 31st Regiment and their families. Reaching the Bay of Biscay north of Spain, the ship was slammed by a ferocious gale, and while a sailor was inspecting the hold for damage, his lantern ignited a cask of spirits. A fire quickly erupted, and even with the desperate expedient of opening hatches and flooding the ship with seawater, the fire burned out of control. As night wore on the ship became an inferno, with the flames moving toward stores of gun-powder. At this point, everyone on board knew that they would perish, and they began preparing for their ghastly deaths. Despite the raging tempest a sailor climbed to the top of the mast one last time and - miraculously - a sail appeared on the horizon. It was the Cambria, a small brig carrying a crew and twenty Cornish miners on their way to Mexico where they planned to explore abandoned Spanish mines. The Cambria's captain spied the burning Kent and through determination and dogged seamanship, the little brig closed the doomed vessel. Launching their boats in towering seas, the Kent's and Cambria's crews were able to transfer nearly all of the children, women, and men to the brig before the Kent exploded.
Author: Nicholas Tracy
Title: The Miracle of the Kent: A Tale of Courage, Fire, and Faith
First Published by: Westholme Publishing
Date: 31 October 2008