Fire aboard the steamer Ontario

Wreck of the steamer Ontario newspaper clipping

Although many of the efforts of the Tasco crew involved the salvage of cargo, others required the rescue of passengers.  One of the more dramatic rescues occurred on April 8, 1912 when the steamship Ontario of the Merchants’ and Miners’ Line caught fire off Montauk Point.  According to contemporary accounts, the captain and crew deliberately chose to beach her and to stay aboard the ship to help put out the fire raging in the hold, while the Tasco, a relatively small vessel, took 29 women and children to safety in New London, and then to a waiting train that took them on to Boston. In addition to the passengers, the Ontario was carrying a cargo of cotton. By the time the Tasco returned to the burning ship, there was not much left to salvage.