October 28, 1909
HELENA, ARK., Oct. 27. -- Because of a breakdown in the engine room and the attending danger of the steamer catching fire, the Gray Eagle, one of the fleet of boats accompanying President Taft to New Orleans, having aboard the Kansas City delegation with Governor Donaghey of Arkansas, Governor Shallenberger of Nebraska, Governor Prouty of Vermont, Senator Gore of Oklahoma and Senator Warner of Missouri as guests, was run aground ten miles north of Helena tonight to disembark its distinguished passengers in safety.
The breakdown followed the dropping of the grates in the fire room. The Gray Eagle had been chartered by the Kansas City delegation to the deep waterways convention and was boarded at Alton, Ill., Monday morning. The Gray Eagle is one of the best known boats in the St. Louis harbor. It is the property of the Eagle Packet Company, noted for its speedy boats.
At the time of the accident the boat was running at a speed of fifteen miles an hour. This is faster than the packers ordinarily run.