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Beached by 65 mph winds

Beached by 65 mph winds

Sept. 24, 1939: A fast-moving storm drove the fishing barge Minnie A. Caine ashore off Sunset Boulevard, north of Santa Monica.

A Sept. 25, 1939, Los Angeles Times Page 1 article reported:

Gales roaring out of the tropics onto the Southern California coast reached a 65-mile-an-hour velocity last night and left a toll of 29 believed dead, including 24 feared drowned on the sport fishing boat Spray capsized at Point Magu, eight miles south of Oxnard.

The storm smashed vessels against piers, breakwaters and beaches in a tragic finale to Southern California’s worst heat wave. …

Typical of the desperate battles with the mountainous breakers was that of 40 lifeguards who rescued six men from the 247-foot fishing barge Minnie A. Caine.

The ship broke anchor and drifted onto the shore two and a half miles north of Santa Monica near Sunset Blvd. Red distress light soared. Lieut. Bob Butt and Capts. George Watkins, Myron Cox and H. E. Walker headed the combined police and lifeguard crews.

They struggled into that sea with a lifeline, but the barge, lying broadside to the shore, threatened to lurch sideways onto the rescue crews. Guards’ feet were cut on sharp rocks, but the passengers were rescued on the line.

This photo was published on Page 2 of the Sept. 25, 1939, Los Angeles Times.

The mid-September heat wave mentioned above killed an estimated 60 in Southern California.

scott.harrison@latimes.com

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