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Clipper Ship "COMET" of New York. In a Hurricane off Bermuda, on her Voyage from New York to San Francisco, Oct. 1852
The "Comet," launched in July of 1851, was built primarily for the passenger and cargo trade to and from San Francisco. The main cabin was elegantly furnished with costly furniture and rich carpeting. The state rooms were especially luxurious and said to "rival on a miniature scale the best apartments in a first-class hotel." The clipper was constructed of the best materials and iron-braced for strength. The ship was also equipped with a force-pump and 100 feet of hose, capable of throwing water to either end of the deck to suppress a fire quickly. Ironically, in 1856, bound for London from Brisbane, the clipper caught fire. The pump system failed to smother the flames. While all of the passengers and part of the crew escaped on life-boats, the mate and 17 crew members were forced to stay with the ship since there was not enough room for them in the boats. Eventually, those who stayed with the "Comet" were rescued by the "Dauntless," but those on the life-boats were never found.
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