Natural Resources

Landslides

Date: Summer, 1869

Location: Branch

Easting: 385000

Northing: 5402900

Latitude: 46° 53' 00" N

Longitude: 53° 57' 00" W

Fatalities: 4

Injuries: 0

Source: Howley JP. 1997 Reminiscences of James P. Howley: Selected Years, edited by Kirwin WJ, Story GM and O'Flaherty PA. The Champlain Society, Toronto, 438p, page 75.

JP Howley, working as an assistant to Alexander Murray, director of the Geological Survey of Newfoundland, had a narrow escape from death when he was caught in a landslide when travelling on the Cape Shore. Howley writes as follows:

"It had now become very wet and foggy but as I was anxious to reach Branch before dark I pushed on. I soon lost the path, however, and as the bushes were so awfully wet I preferred to take the risk of trying to clamber along the top of the high bank which formed this side of the bight. It was a tough proposition to negotiate and at one point I nearly came to grief. I had to cross a wide sloping clay bank beneath which lay a rugged cliff of rock against which the sea broke furiously. In trying to cross the clay slope the earth gave way and began to slide rapidly down taking me with it. My only hope of saving myself was to make a run for a projecting piece of rock some distance ahead. By good fortune I succeeded in reaching it and by still greater luck it was sufficiently firmly embedded not to give way under my weight. The good people of Branch were surprised to see me. when I stated my experience in clambering along the cliffs they told me I ran a fearful risk and had I gone over the bank I would have been killed on the jagged rocks below or otherwise drowned and as no one knew of my coming it might have been quite a while before I was found, if ever. This was one of the very narrow escapes I have had in my career."

 
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