Swannanoa, NC Train Wreck, Aug 1902


Engine and Cars Badly Wrecked But No Persons Seriously Hurt.

Asheville Gazette, 25th.
One of the most remarkable wrecks in the history of the Southern railway occurred yesterday afternoon shortly after 1 o'clock, about a mile west of Swannanoa station, the train being No. 11 from the east. Although the engine and three cars went down a high embankment, the engine being completely broken to pieces and three of the cars practically wrecked, all the trainmen and passengers escaped with their lives and no one was injured more than slightly.

“Miraculous” is the word oftenest used by those who have visited the scene to describe the escape of the engineer and fireman, whose cab was overturned and smashed into kindling wood and scrap iron. Both ends of the engine were buried in the earth. The forward part of the boiler had plowed twelve or fourteen inches into the earth. The overturned tender lay on top of the engine, and the great mass of wrecked machinery was topped by a miscellaneous assortment of trucks, rods, beams, bolts and bars.

The engine went over on the left side of the track. The left side is the firemans' station and Fireman GEORGE CREWS side of the engine was buried in the earth up to the furnace door. The little space between the top of the cab and the ground was where MR. CREWS found himself when the sudden, terrible shock was over. He was confined on three sides, and the walls of his little prison were of jagged ends of splinters, pipes, etc., while steam was bursting from every crevice and covering the place with a blinding cloud. He lost no time in getting out.

Fireman CREWS narrowly escaped two kinds of death – by mangling and by scalding – and escaped with only a slight cut on the arm. That the wreck did not catch on fire is probably explained by the fact that the water tank overturning above the boiler and furnace, extinguished the fire.

Engineer ROUECHE landed on the roof of the cab. This was wrenched off and lay bottom upward beside the cab's remains. The engineer was bruised in the back and suffered somewhat from the shock.

Rev. T. K. BROWN, of Black Mountain, who was a passenger on the train, was brought to the city and taken to the Mission hospital. MR. BROWN stated that he had been thrown forcibly against the seat in front of him, and it was at first supposed that he had suffered internal injuries. Physicians said last evening, however, that MR. BROWN was suffering from the shock, and that there was nothing serious about his condition.

Traveling Engineer J. P. MOORE and Law Agent GROOME, who were in the baggage car, were bruised by being struck by trunks.

These were the extent of the injuries, all of them being inconsiderable.

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