Tragedy struck Maine’s Petit Manan Lighthouse on December 29, 1916 when lighthouse keeper Capt. Eugene Ingalls launched the station’s powerboat with plans to go and meet his wife (Inez Robinson Ingalls), at Moose Peak Lighthouse. She had been visiting her parents Herbert and Mary Robinson who were the keepers there, and where Ingalls himself had previously been a lighthouse keeper. Shortly after he left the station, a gale developed, and as the assistant keeper watched from the island, the station’s powerboat suddenly disappeared in a swell. Ingalls’ five-year-old daughter Rita Francis had also been watching from shore. However, in the gale, it was unclear at that time if he had changed direction to seek shelter, or had gone back to Petit Manan Lighthouse, but both of them had lost sight of him. Since there was no telephone line at the lighthouse, nothing could be learned. It wasn’t until January 2nd that both the people on the mainland and those on the island realized that Ingalls had not arrived on the mainland or gone back to the island.
A massive search led by his brother Herman Ingalls, who was captain of the lighthouse tender Ziziana, was launched. The wreckage of the small boat was located, but the body of lighthouse keeper Eugene Ingalls was never found.
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