The fall of the Niagara – where, why and how

Niagara 2Our second wreck coming up – for the Niagara went down on March 28th, 1983 and lies in Calzarellu (Prunelli di Fiumorbu), on the east coast of the island.

Built in 1958, this Panamanian cargo of around 100m, was hunted down by the Italian customs off the coasts of Corsica and Sardinia during the month of March, 1983.

So, what was the reason behind this hunt ?

Contraband cigarettes. In the heat of the situation, the crew (thus, the smugglers), set fire to the cargo and just abandoned it to its cruel fate. The Navy was commissioned to riddle it with munition, and thereafter, many shell holes could be observed in the superstructures, but the Niagara just refused to sink .. and this went on for several days, which ended up by attracting the attention of crowds gathering on the beach at Calzarellu (just beside Ghisonaccia). The cargo was attached to a large warship belonging to the Navy, and one night during a fierce storm, the cables gave way. The next morning, the Niagara was lying miserably on its side, on the beach. The story goes, in spite of days of effort it remained impossible to move.

épave Niagara

Now, a few years after these happenings, the arrival of a wooden barge perched on a truck was to carry our story on. The owner had just arrived from the mainland, and had been mandated by the state to get rid of the cumbersome ‘tenant’. His first initiative was of course, to contact specialists who would initiate him in deep sea diving, as the wreck was now partly submerged. Finally, after following advice he hired a professional diver to help him with his task.

This state of affairs lasted two months, and only the huge propeller was pulled up and brought back to the port – the next day, everybody had disappeared … Niagara

Nowadays, one can see the presenc of three pieces of rusted metal, as it lies on starboard; witnesses of past trials and holders of stories no longer related. These are indeed sad accounts, where once again time scatters her scars, and marches on. Niagara 3

Source: JLG

Photo credit: Phot’eau Corse Copyright ©

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