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Wellfleet storm reveals 19th century ship

WELLFLEET – One hundred or more years ago, a sailing vessel wrecked on the sandbars off Wellfleet’s outer beaches.

Steve Heaslip/Cape Cod Times

This past weekend’s storm peeled back the sand, and the years, and freed the vessel. And for the first time in more than a century it was afloat on the ocean - or at least it’s skeletal remains. It drifted to shore, more than 50 feet long, and grounded on the sands of Newcomb Hollow Beach.

The large oak timbers of the ship’s ribs still rise from the keel, as they did when it was built in some unknown shipyard, only resembling more the ribs of a giant beached whale.

William Burke, the branch chief of cultural resources management for the National Park Service, said the vessel was at least late 1800’s era, possibly older.
Over 3,000 ships went down off the Outer Cape, most during the late 19th century, making it hard for him to identify the vessel.

Burke believed it might be connected to pieces of a wreck uncovered on Newcomb Hollow Beach the previous two winters. Those were pieces of large oak planking connected to ship’s ribs.

A similar piece of wreckage lies to the north of the Newcomb Hollow landing, and is about 26 feet long and 15 feet wide. It looks like the side of a large vessel. The main piece of the wreck is south of the landing.

Burke said that visitors could look at the vessel, but cautioned that it is not legal to take any of it. The park will be documenting it in photographs and measurements for their records, but would probably not excavate it.


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Vineyard woman killed in two-car crash

VINEYARD HAVEN – A 20-year-old Vineyard Haven woman was killed last night and two others seriously injured in a two-car crash on County Road, according to police.

Brandy Marie Gibson, 20, was killed when her car struck a delivery van at 10:30 p.m. at the intersection of Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road and County Road. Police said Gibson was pronounced dead at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, while two others – Francellyo Dias and Lessa Keila both of Vineyard Haven – were flown to Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Police said that no one involved in the accident was wearing a seat belt.

A hospital spokeswoman said Dias is in critical condition, but there was no information available on Keila.A crash reconstruction team is conducting an investigation into the cause of the crash, but Oak Bluffs police officer James Morse said Gibson was driving her 1993 Oldsmobile east from Edgartown toward Vineyard Haven at the time of the crash.

Dias was driving a delivery van owned by Humphrey’s Inc. and attempting to turn left onto Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road from County Road.

The vehicles collided with enough impact to push the cars 50 feet from the point of impact, Morse said.

The speed of Gibson’s vehicle has yet to be determined, but Dias has been charged with unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle after he was unable to produce a valid driver’s license at the scene, according to police.

Humphrey’s Inc. will also be cited for allowing an unlicensed operator to drive a motor vehicle.

Additional charges may be filed as the investigation continues, Morse said.

Two killed in Bourne crash

BOURNE – An early morning accident left two dead on MacArthur Blvd. in Bourne, according to police.

The accident occurred around 7:30 a.m. on Route 28 south in the vicinity of Clay Pond Road. Fire officials said one person was dead at the scene, and the other occupant died on his way to the hospital. Police are still on the scene and investigating the crash, and have not released the names of those involved or any details of the crash.

Police said the victims were driving a Honda Civic on Route 28 south when the crash occurred. The driver somehow lost control of the vehicle, flipped into the heavily-wooded median striking several trees and came to rest near the northbound lane.

The crash was witnessed by one of the victim’s cousins who was driving behind him, and all the men were part of the same work crew, according to police.

The medical examiner’s office arrived at the scene shortly before 9 a.m. and State Police called a crime scene unit to photograph the area.

A reporter at the scene said traffic on Route 28 north is backed up almost to the Otis Rotary.

Reporter George Brennan contributed to this article.