SS Lamut, Teahwhit Head

SS Lamut, Teahwhit Head

by | Apr 13, 2021

Teahwhit Head is a rocky headland with a natural sea arch on the coast of Olympic National Park, about 12 miles (19 km) southwest of Forks and 2.8 miles (4.5 km) southeast of La Push, Washington. The headland is accessible by hiking south from La Push to Second Beach and then to the prominent headland at the south end of the beach, although the headland cannot be rounded at even the lowest tides. The headland is also accessible by hiking north from Third Beach.

SS Lamut was built by the Great Lakes Engine Works in Ashtabula, Ohio, and originally launched in 1919 as Lake El Pueblo in Lake Erie. The steel steamship was 250 feet (76 m) long and displaced almost 2,700 tons. The Russian Merchant Marine acquired and renamed the ship, and she was then transferred to the Pacific to operate between the North American west coast and the Russian east coast.

On April 1, 1943, off the coast of Washington with a load of cargo from Portland, Oregon and bound for Vladivostok, Lamut was set upon by a storm with winds up to 75 knots (139 kph). The crew lost their bearings and grounded the ship on Teahwhit Head south of Cape Flattery in a treacherous area known as the Quillayute Needles. In the early morning light on 2 April,  a beah patrol with the U.S. Coast Guard Station Quillayute River at La Push found wreckage on Second Beach and sighted part of the grounded ship lodged between a sea cliff and a small jagged rock island. Survivors of the wreck were huddled high on the steeply sloping deck. The surf boats were ineffective in the raging seas, but the shore team managed to throw lines and rescue the entire crew using an improvised Bosun’s Chair. One by one survivors were raised to the cliff top and assisted down the landward side of the rocky ridge to the beach below. The rescue of the Lamut crew was among the most dramatic events in the annals of World War II beach patrol history. Read more here and here. Explore more of Teahwhit Head here:

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