A SAD DISASTER. – We are pained to announce another fatal steamboat explosion on the Cape Fear. The boiler of the Kate McLaurin, a new and handsome freight and passenger boat, exploded on Tuesday morning last about 4 0’clock, at the Little Sugar Loaf, about 50 miles below this place, by which Capt. W.T. Evans and three hands lost their lives. Capt. Evans is supposed to have been thrown 75 or 100 feet into a cane-brake, which being overflowed in the high state of the river, his body was not found when we last heard. Charles, a free boy of color, is supposed to have been thrown into the river. William, a negro man belonging to Mr. Duncan McLaurin, was blown over the top of the new Steamer A.P. Hurt, which was delivering hoods at a landing near by. Capt. Hurt very promptly had picked up, alive; he was brought to town on the Hurt, but died before he could be landed from the boat. The third boat hand lost was a free boy named John Henry Hayes, who was unhurt in the explosion, but was drowned in attempting to swim ashore.
At the time of the explosion the Kate was just in rear of the A.P. Hurt; both boats were stationary – the Hurt had stopped to land a box, the Kate came up and made an effort to pass, but not finding sufficient room had backed down a few feet.
Great credit is awarded to Capt. A.P. Hurt for his kindness to the crew of the ill-fated steamer.
The Kate drifted about 33 miles down stream and was then tied up by the men who remained on board. Most of the cargo was insured – all of it ought to have been. The boat is supposed to be not very greatly injured, and nothing in a pecuniary view distressing about it, in comparison with the sad loss of life.
The Kate McLaurin belonged to Messrs. Orrell & Dailey, cost perhaps $6,000, and had been running less than six months.
Carolina Observer, Fayetteville, 4 June 1860.