New York - Liverpool disappearance mystery of Paddle steamer solved

18th July 2009, 16:10
IT WAS a mystery that took 135 years to solve the disappearance of the emigrant paddle steamer Pacific and almost 200 passengers and crew on a voyage from Liverpool to New York.

One of the largest, fastest and most well-appointed ships of her day she vanished without trace after sailing on 23 January 1856.

Commanded by Captain Asa Eldridge, she was one of three sister ships operated by the American Collins Line and designed to outclass its main rival British-owned Cunard.

Captain Eldridge was renowned as a great skipper. Two years before he disappeared he made his lasting reputation sailing the clipper Red Jacket on her maiden voyage between New York and Liverpool.

She did this in a record time of 13 days and one hour catching up with a steamer that had started out two days earlier. This transatlantic sailing record has never been broken and Red Jacket is one of the seven fastest sailing ships in history.