Robert Hicks was a deckhand on the Eastland and was on the bridge with Captain Pedersen and other members of the crew when the ship began to list. As the Eastland rolled over, Robert grabbed a chair and smashed out the wheelhouse windows and climbed out onto the side of the ship.
...the accident was caused by the overloading...
After the incident the ship owners knew that there would be extensive litigation and they did not want Robert around to testify. The owners gave Robert a sum of money and expressed their desire for him to leave the country as he was potentially a key witness. Robert went to New York and then to England and later onto Australia. He rarely spoke about the tragedy with his family. Robert always believed that the accident was caused by the overloading of the Eastland.
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