Whitesville, WV Bridge Collapses, July 1926
SEVERAL REPORTED DEAD IN FALL OF BRIDGE.
CROWDED STRUCTURE DROPS, SCORES HURT ON BIG COAL RIVER.
CHARLESTON DOCTORS AND AMBULANCES RUSHED TO WHITESVILLE; PEOPLE WERE WATCHING CARNIVAL STUNTS ON WATER.
Governor Gore early thing morning ordered a special train to take doctors and nurses to Whitesville. At one o'clock the governor said the train would leave as soon as the doctors and nurses could be assembled.
Previously the governor had ordered Dr. W. T. Henshaw of the state health department to send relief and about a dozen doctors and nurses attached to the staff left in automobiles, two of which were the governor's private cars.
Chief R. M. Lambie and an emergency rescue squad of the state mining department also were dispatched to the scene.
A swinging foot-bridge over Big Coal River at Whitesville, Boone County, fell last night while crowded with people. Reports reaching here placed the dead at from three to six, with practically everyone on the bridge injured, many of them seriously. Scores of people were reportedly injured.
One report said three boys, two white and one colored already were dead.
A call to Simpson's morgue said that HARRY SLUSH, prominent coal operator and five other persons were dead.
Four ambulances and four automobiles carrying nurses and doctors left here shortly before midnight to give aid.
Their services were requested by Major R. E. O'Connor, of the state police, whose officers at Whitesville reported that more doctors and nurses were needed. Major O'Connor said one of his men told him 45 persons were dead, dying or injured.
The state troopers, coal company doctors from Montcoal, Dorothy, Kam and other mining towns were in charge. Miss Ada Coddington, of the state health department, who was visiting her sister, Mrs. Slush, set up and directed an emergency hospital during the night, reports reaching here said.
The people, variously estimated between 50 and 200 had gathered on the bridge to watch a water
"stunt" being staged on the river below by a carnival company. The telephone operator at East Bank said that she had heard the bridge fell while state troopers were warning the crowd that the bridge was dangerous.
Efforts before midnight to get in touch with Whitesville by telephone brought from the operators the report that all of the town was at the scene of the accident.
The Charleston General Hospital sent an auto load of doctors and nurses but their names could not be learned.
Drs. R. H. Walker and R. A. Ireland went from the Mountain State Hospital.
The McMillan Hospital sent Dr. Frank Work and Miss Gladys Blankenship and Miss Blanche Nott, nurses.
Dr. B. H. Hill and Miss Frances Shuff went from the Kanawha Valley.
Other doctors were reported to be leaving at 1 o'clock this morning.
Simpson's morgue sent an ambulance in charge of A. J. Lyons and Charles Ramsey.
N. A. Barth, Rev. C. T. Brookshire and P. L. Kerr went from Owen and Barth, undertakers, with two ambulances.
Barlows sent Barnes Surbaugh with an ambulance.
Major O'Connor, accompanied by Sam Mallison, secretary to Governor Gore, Sergeant H. E. Wilson and Corporal Shirley Clinton of the state police, also left for Whitesville last night.
Charleston Daily Mail West Virginia 1926-07-25
(List of Dead and Injured on Page 2 -- Transcriber's Note)
Continued on Page 2.