All seven ships of the flota now reached the most dangerous stage of their brief voyage since leaving Havana—trying to reach safety on land. After surviving the pounding dealt out by the hurricane, a majority of the ships proceeded to sink within sight of land. While the struggle against the sea and weather was essentially over for these Spaniards, those who struck the Carolina coast farther south were not so lucky. Both the Salvador and the Soledad experienced a disastrous end to their encounter with the hurricane. The merchant ships hit sandbars about five or six leagues apart north of Cape Lookout. Witnessing the plundering of his helpless vessel, the incredulous and irate Spanish captain, Jose Ventura de Respaldiza, risked the surf to revisit his vessel, setting it on fire and burning it to the waterline.
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