The History

U.S. Coast Guard

“THERE WAS A CONSTANT STREAM OF BODIES being brought up from the hull and dragged out of the river, and I think there must be several hundred yet in the river.” -- George Duneau

Eight crew members from the U.S. Coast Guard received word of the Eastland Disaster at 7:30 a.m. and launched a power surfboat to the scene of the tragedy.

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 launced by myself and seven surfmen went to the scene. We found that the Eastland had capsized with a load of passengers 2500 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."