Michigan City, IN Lake Steamer Hits Bridge, June 1910

Bridge Ruins

BOAT HITS BRIDGE.

LAKE STEAMER'S UPPER WORKS ARE BADLY DAMAGED.

UNTED STATES OF MICHIGAN CITY IN AN ACCIDENT THERE YESTERDAY.

Michigan City, June 25. -- The big excursion steamer United States with 1,000 persons, mostly women and children, aboard, crashed into the bascule bridge over the river here yesterday just as the return trip to Chicago had been began.
The bridge collapsed and badly demolished the upper works of the steamer.
The structure fell on the tug Elphicke of Chicago, which was towing the United States out of the river. The tug, with five persons aboard, sunk in an instant in twenty feet of water. The captain and members of the crew leaped overboard to save their lives. All succeeded in reaching shore safely.

Accident Starts Panic Aboard.
The accident caused great excitement on the United States. For an instant panic reigned. The force with which the big steamer struck the raised bridge brought the United States almost to a standstill. The noise of the crashing timbers in the upper works of the boat added to the excitement.
A number of women and children seated near the stern of the steamer had narrow escapes from injury. Some might have been thrown into the water had it not been for the alertness of the boat crew.
With women and children screaming in fright and rushing wildly to and fro, the officers and crew had their hands full in quelling the panic. The sight of five men in the water, swimming toward shore, while hundreds on shore were trying to give them assistance added to the excitement.
The bridge tenders were slow in raising the bridge and this caused the accident. The tug had passed under the bridge when the steamer struck the half-raised draw.
The bridge was built two years ago at a cost of $40,000.
After leaving Michigan City the return trip was made safely.

The News-Palladium Benton Harbor Michigan 1910-06-25