The hulk of SS Enterprise off Ten Mile Point after her collision with RP Rithet

The hulk of SS Enterprise off Ten Mile Point after her collision with RP Rithet

On the afternoon of July 28, 1885 the side-wheeler Enterprise and the RP Rithet were both bound for Victoria out of New Westminster proceeding at full speed. Enterprise was under Captain George Rudlin while Capt. Asbury Insley commanded RP Rithet. The weather was clear and visibility was excellent. At about 2:25 p.m. near Victoria, at Ten Mile Point (now known as Cadburo Point) at the entrance to Cadburo Bay, the two vessels collided. RP Rithet’s crew claimed Enterprise ignored a whistle blast directing her to put her helm to port. RP Rithet made a last-minute attempt to reverse the engines while the Enterprise‘s engines had been stopped. RP Rithet struck Enterprise bow-on, about eight feet forward of the wheelhouse. Enterprise started sinking immediately and panic broke out among the passengers.

Cattle being transported aboard Enterprise started swimming around in the water, and her passengers and crew grabbed on for anything that would float. All but two of Enterprise‘s passengers of were rescued, either by RP Rithet or Western Slope which was in the area. The two passengers drowned were the first fatalities involving a Canadian Pacific Navigation Company (CPN) vessel. The force of the collision knocked Captain Rudlin off Enterprise and onto the RP Rithet.

An inquest into the collision found RP Rithet‘s Captain Insley responsible for the accident, and save the mate of Enterprise who was seriously hurt in the event, the officers of both vessels were censured for not acting effectively to quell the panic of the Enterprise‘s passengers. Captain Insley’s license was suspended for 12 months. CPN nor any other steamship company on the Pacific coast employed him again though he was able to find work as master on inland steamers. His fault was that he had left a green hand at the helm while he left the wheelhouse to eat dinner. Captain Rudlin, of the Enterprise, was faulted for not re-boarding his vessel from RP Rithet to manage the evacuation of his vessel. Unlike Insley, Rudlin continued to receive command assignments from CPN.