“It was raining constantly, the night was very dark, and to add to the danger of the situation, the boat started to sink a lot,” said passenger Mary Witherell Palmer later.
By morning around 4:30 a.m., with the steamboat now pulling the anchors, Rogers did not believe his ship could hold out until daylight without breaking. He told the passengers to assemble on the deck where he explained their situation.
He didn’t know how close they were to Buffalo, as he couldn’t see any light, not even the lighthouse.
But now he was going to slip the chain cable and cut the two of hemp, and let the boat drift towards shore under the mercy of the strong wind and waves.
About half an hour later, the waves gently pushed the dented boat onto the beach. The next wave was not that nice.
“The next swell dropped it with a crash of dishes and glass, and the third lifted it higher on the shore, pinned it down in the sand,” recalls Palmer. “The swell made a clear breach on the bridges. Some of the ladies were in nightwear and all were soaked several times. “
They could make out the lighthouse, less than a mile away.
One of the crew jumped into the water and waded ashore, got a horse from a nearby house, and drove to Buffalo for help.