Niagara Falls, New York, USA
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1917 - 8 PERSONS KILLED IN NIAGARA PLUNGE. MORE THAN A SCORE INJURED AS A CROWDED CAR OVERTURNS INTO WHIRLPOOL RAPIDS. WASHOUT CAUSED DISASTER.


1917 - 8 PERSONS KILLED IN NIAGARA PLUNGE. MORE THAN A SCORE INJURED AS A CROWDED CAR OVERTURNS INTO WHIRLPOOL RAPIDS. WASHOUT CAUSED DISASTER.

CAR TURNED TURTLE IN 10 FEET OF WATER - MANY PINNED DOWN BY SEATS - REPORT SOME MISSING.

Niagara Falls, N. Y., July 1. - A Belt Line car on the Great Gorge Route left the rails, plunged down a twenty-foot embankment and turned over in ten feet of water on the edge of the whirlpool rapids at 3:30 o'clock this afternoon.

Eight persons are known to be dead. Two persons known to have been on the car have not been seen since the accident and are probably dead; an indefinite number, estimated at from two to ten, are reported missing, and more than a score are in the hospitals suffering from injuries received in the accident.

Following is a list of the dead, missing, and injured:

Dead.
HERON, ALEXANDER, Niagara Falls.
KENT, JAMES S., Scranton, Penn.
MUCK, J. R., Princeton, Ind.
PHELPS, HARVEY G., Schenectady.
RASTERY, MRS. B. M., Chicago.
SCHUMAKER, MARION LLOYD, Akron, Ohio.
SEASTROM, MRS. BERTHA, Jamestown, N. Y.
WALLACE, MRS. L. F., of Akron, Ohio.

Missing.
BROWN, S. K., Warren, Ohio.
SEASTROM, VIOLET, Jamestown, N. Y.

Injured.
BAIL, MRS. S. W., Washington, Penn.
BROWN, MRS. S. K., Warren, Ohio.
HARAODO, S., Japanese student.
HENN, CHAUNCEY, 449 Gregory Avenue, New York.
HORLACHER, MR. and MRS. J., Rochester, N. Y.
KENT, MRS. JAMES, Scranton, Penn.
LUCAS, BERTHA, Renovo, Penn.
MANNING, DANIEL J., 169 West 166th Street, New York.
McCOY, MRS. G. C., Kansas City.
McGILL, CLARENCE, member 74th Regiment, Buffalo.
MILLER, NORMAN, Erie, Penn.
POOLE, MRS. ETTA J., Cincinnati.
RISING, GEORGE, Erie, Penn.
SEASTROM, ALEC, Jamestown, N. Y.
SEASTROM, ALMA and FLORENCE, daughters of ALEC SEASTROM.
SIMPSON, RACHAEL B., Martin's Ferry.
SLEE, MRS. D. J., Toledo, Ohio.
SKMONI, S., Japanese student.
SMITH, MRS. H. O., Akron, Ohio.
STOMINSKI, FRANK, Chicago.
SWEENEY, GEORGE W., Renovo, Penn.
VOLGESTEADT, MISS JESEPHINE, Erie, Penn.

A washout due to recent heavy rains was the cause of the disaster, which occurred just below the Cantilever Bridge and sixty feet below the point where the smooth waters of the river break into the turbulent eddies of the Whirlpool Rapids.

The car was in charge of LOUIS E. CRANDALL, motorman, and ALEXANDER HERON, conductor. It had all but completed the circuit of the gorge, having crossed from the Canadian side of the river on the trolley bridge at Lewiston. There were more than fifty passengers on board, according to general estimates. The car was one of the open type, the seats extending from side to side, with steps on both sides the full length of the car.

All the seats were occupied and some of the passengers were standing between them, and there were others on the rear platform.
The car was running at a speed of about twenty miles an hour when it struck the weak spot in the roadbed. Less than half a minute elapsed from the time the motorman felt the first jarring sway until the car was bottom side up on the edge of the rapids.

As it slipped down the twenty-foot incline from the tracks to the edge of the river, screaming men and women fought to escape, and some of them were able to get free, but were unable to obtain a footing on the steep bank.

There was a mad scramble in the shallow water between the wrecked car and the river bank. From the river side the bodies of at least two of the passengers were seen to be caught in the swifter waters, and were carried down to the whirlpool.

Members of a National Guard regiment, who were on guard at the Cantilever Bridge, saw the accident, and were the first to come to the rescue. The soldiers slid down the bank into the river, and worked in water up to their waists getting injured passengers free from the wreckage and passing them up the bank, where an emergency car had been placed to carry them to the Niagara Falls Hospital.

The supports of the roof on the forward part of the car had been crushed by the impact of the rocks in the river bottom, throwing the seats together. This pinioned many of the passengers below the surface of the water, and it was in this part of the car that most of the fatalities occurred.

"I believe at least half a dozen bodies were carried down the river to the whirlpool," said one of the soldiers, who was taken to a hospital to recover from exhaustion. "When I was running down the railroad tracks I saw out in the stream what seemed to me to be two arms raised above the surface. Ten feet away from them I am sure I saw the bright color of a woman's dress near the surface, and still further down a man was swimming in an effort to get out of the rapids. He disappeared."

Conductor HERON was in the forward part of the car collecting the last of the fares. He was thrown from the running board and crushed to death as the car toppled over.

The statement by the National Guardsman that he had seen half a dozen persons struggling in the water was the most definite obtainable as to the number of persons carried away from the river side of the wrecked car. Nearly a score were reported to the police as missing, but most of these were located in hospitals and hotels later in the evening. It is certain, however, that in the holiday crowd there were many making the trip unaccompanied. The list of dead and known missing and the injured makes a total of thirty-four. Practically no one escaped injury, and this leaves more than fifteen persons to be accounted for if the estimate of fifty as the total number of passengers on the car is correct.

 

The New York Times

New York, New York



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