Steamer Nantucket was still fast in the sand of Sturgeon Flats this morning, with the prospect that more powerful towing equipment or the aid of a dredger will be needed to get her clear. Attempts were made to float her at high tide last night, and the working vessels were heard tooting again this morning in the thick fog which surrounded all the craft and made them invisible from the shore.

One of the New Bedford tugs was recalled yesterday and the Acushnet was called to the aid of another vessel, so that only two tugs, one the powerful Merritt-Chapman tug Resolute, participated in the attempts of last night and the morning. They were aided, however, by the Nantucket’s own engines applied to a winch and a ground anchor.

The present attempts are to pull the steamer off from astern, the way she went on the shoal, although it was first tried to pull her ahead, over the flat. The water at the stern of the Nantucket is so shallow, however, that it is necessary for the tugs to pull on a long stretch of two rope and at an angle of almost forty-five degrees. A straight pull either forward or astern is impossible. The effort to pull the boat astern followed the descent of a diver and his report that the construction of the hull underneath was offering too much resistance to the sand against which she was breasted.

Ten Minutes from Edgartown Dock

Steamer Nantucket left Edgartown at quarter of five Tuesday morning, heading out on her early trip to New Bedford. At five minutes of five she came to rest on Sturgeon Flats, some distance off her course in the direction of Cape Pogue and Chappaquiddick, and remained held fast in the sand. A thick, rather wintry fog shrouded the boat from view, but as she whistled repeatedly to attract attention many residents of Edgartown became aware that something was wrong.

Cyrus Sears of Vineyard Haven, in company with Fred Metell was returning from Chappaquiddick where he had been at a gunning camp, back to the Vineyard proper. He investigated the whistling and was hailed alongside the helpless Nantucket. The lone passenger on the steamer, Charles B. Higgins of Edgartown, and the mails were taken off by Captain Sears and he took the first message from the stranded boat to the Vineyard.

At the time the Nantucket ran into the sand, Capt. James O. Sandsbury was at breakfast, and Pilot Joseph Gwartz was in command in the pilot house with Quartermaster Joseph Richards at the wheel. The quartermaster has a first class pilot’s license.

No explanation of the straying and grounding of the boat was given by steamboat officials in advance of the investigation which always follows such cases.

Overdue at both Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven, the Nantucket was missed and the agents at both these ports of call sent out calls causing coastguards boats to be dispatched from Woods Hole in search of the steamer. More than an hour elapsed before it was known definitely what happened. The lone passenger and mails were landed at Edgartown at 9 o’clock.

When the fog lifted somewhat, the Nantucket could be seen plainly in her unaccustomed berth, and many sightseers went to the waterfront to watch the arrival of coastguard boats and tugs, and the efforts to float her. The steamer grounded just after high water and it was necessary to wait until evening before the first real attempt at pulling her off could be made.

Cutter and Tugs Called To Scene

The revenue cutter Acushnet which was coaling at New Bedford was hurried to Edgartown, and tugs John Duff and Jesse T. Sherman were also pressed into service. William A. Smith, superintendent of the Island line at New Bedford, and Albert Haase, superintendent of marine construction at Newport, arrived with the tugs, bringing also a diver and special towing equipment.

When the tide was again high in the afternoon an attempt was made to pull the Nantucket ahead, clear of the shoal, but she failed to respond. It was explained that, owing to her position, it was difficult to tow her off the way she had gone on. AS she lay Wednesday, it was said that deep water was only a short distance from her bow, but that she had sunk in the sand and that the major part of the shoal lay behind her. Reports that she was in a mud bottom were denied by local fishermen who said that the flats were sand.

As the tide fell Wednesday morning and the steamer still remained on the shoal, she developed a decided list and the effect, as viewed from the shore, was one of helplessness. Investigation by the diver established the fact that she was not injured on her hull, and also that she was held principally amidships, with her bow and stern fairly clear.

A strong south wind blew Wednesday, but there was little fog. The Nantucket lay in about five feet of water with either a particularly high tide of a combination of high tide and favorable wind needed to float her. At one time there were seven craft standing by to give assistance, including the Acushnets, the two tugs, and four coastguard boats.

Phil Norton Takes Off Freight

The freight, consisting mostly of scallops, was removed Tuesday morning by Phil Norton, Edgartown fisherman, and unloaded on Edgartown wharf, from where it was sent by truck to Vineyard Haven and dispatched on the afternoon boat to Woods Hole. The boat schedule was impaired as a result of the disabling of the Nantucket, and on Tuesday and Wednesday there was no early boat from Edgartown and no early boat from New Bedford to the Vineyard. Nantucket was hardest hit by the impaired service, getting no boat until night when the Martha’s Vineyard left Oak Bluffs, following completion of her afternoon shuttle trip, for the more distant island.

Many Edgartown residents were at a loss to understand the Nantucket’s repeated blasts of the whistle Tuesday morning. Captain Henry Lyman Thomas at the harbor light thought that a tugboat was probably ashore on Chappaquiddick.

The powerful wrecking tug Resolute, of the Merritt-Chapman company of New York, came on from New London and reached Edgartown about 5 Wednesday afternoon. The attempt to float the Nantucket being unsuccessful at his time, the Resolute and the other craft spent part of the night in securing a firmer hold and rigging stronger tackle for the attempt Thursday morning. When the morning came the fog was again so thick that the craft could not be seen from the shore. Their tooting sounded dismally.

At about 8:30 Thursday morning the Resolute, the Acushnet and the two New Bedford tugs did their utmost to free the grounded boat, but without success. An aft anchor rigged to the Nantucket’s winch was also used. The boat was moved by degrees about fifteen feet before the tide ebbed so much that the pulling had to be stopped.

The diver descended again Thursday and reported no harm to the Nantucket’s hull. She was still, however, on the hogback, some thirty feet amidships being embedded in the sand.

Steamer New Bedford went on the schedule yesterday, and the Martha’s Vineyard came into Edgartown last night, passing within a short distance of her helpless sister ship.