William E. Preston


…we succeeded in rescuing 84…

The following men were crew members of the United States Coast Guard and assisted in the rescue and recovery of the Eastland Disaster on and following July 24, 1915: Erickson, J. (Surfman No. 7); LeClair, A. J. (Surfman No. 5); Lehne, G. A. (Surfman No. 6); Mruzynski, M. J. (Surfman No. 4); Nedeau, S. (Surfman No. 2); Preston, William E. (Surfman No. 1); Westerberg, W. W. (Surfman No. 9); and Zenn, M. (Surfman No. 8).

William E. Preston, Surfman No. 1, reported the following in his daily logs:

July 24, 1915:

"At about 7:30 a.m., R. H. McCreary, Deputy Collector of the Custom House, telephoned to the (USCG) station and said that the steamer Eastland was sinking.  Power surfboat was launched by myself and seven surfmen went to the scene.  We found that the Eastland had capsized with a load of passengers 2,500 and a crew of 80.  We succeeded in rescuing 84, and we recovered 570 bodies."

July 25, 1915:

"Left the station 7:30 a.m. for the capsized steamer Eastland.  Myself and four men with station shift for the purpose of dragging for bodies and do other work as required.  We found one body that of a young woman we turned over to the City authorities.  In the afternoon I sent surfman No. 1 to the scene to render all possible assistance.  Crew returned to the station 5:30 p.m."

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