The Big Bad Snag
The walnut snag that the Arabia hit was buried firmly into the riverbed, to the point that it was nearly impossible to spot in the mud of the Missouri River. When the boat hit the snag, the Arabia’s hog chains (also known as support beams) snapped and destroyed quite a portion of the cargo when they swung around the lower hull of the Arabia and broke through the deck of the ship to whip around. When the Arabia crashed, it settled in the riverbed. The only thing killed was a mule. The mule was found tied to a piece of sawmill equipment. The Arabia settled in the mud, allowing the passengers to escape, which almost didn’t happen, because the crew took the only lifeboat. I guess they ignored the ‘Women and children first’ rule. Luckily, the crew sent one man back to rescue the others. The man who owned the mule that was killed was put on trial for abandoning his mule. The ironic thing is that he claimed to have attempted to free the mule by trying as hard as he possibly could to untie the rope tying the mule to the sawmill. However, when the Arabia was excavated, the mule was tied firmly to the post of the sawmill, with no sign of the rope being manhandled whatsoever! Unfortunately for the legal system, the man who owned the mule was dead and obviously in no condition to be convicted of cruelty to animals.