Glendive, MT Train Wreck, Jun 1938

Rail Wreck Body Hunt is Widened

MILES CITY, Mont., June 21 – (UP) – Milwaukee railroad officials announcing 39 persons were known dead in the Custer creek train disaster, tonight turned their search for missing bodies to the Yellowstone river, 50 miles downstream.

The company resumed salvage operations on a remaining sleeper coach, believed to contain at least 16 more bodies. This would bring the toll to a possible 55 dead in the wreck of the transcontinental Olympian, which plunged into swollen Custer creek when a trestle washed out.

River Searched For Bodies

Sheriff’s officers in boats patrolled the Yellowstone river at Glendive and Terry in search of bodies. Three railway porters told company officials they saw seven people swept away as the train smashed into the creek.

Glendive is 50 miles downstream from the scene of the crash. One body was recovered there late Sunday. Terry is about 15 miles below the wreck. It was believed some of the bodies may have washed out of the submerged cars before they were salvaged and were carried away by the cloudburst torrent that swept down the normally-dry Custer creek channel shortly before the wreck occurred.

Four More Bodies Found

Workmen resumed repair work on a 100-tone crane used to lift the remaining submerged sleeper car from the Custer creek mud. Four bodies were recovered from the coach late last night and early today before operations were abandoned temporarily to reinforce the crane.

Railroad officials feared the heavyweight of the coach might snap the crane unless it were bolstered.

Cranes lifted all the other cars from the creek bed and the banks. Railroad officials said several days more will be required before an accurate casualty list can be completed.

The Arizona Republican, Phoenix, Arizona, Monday Morning, June 22, 1938, Vol. I No. 85