Kingsburg, CA Train And Oil Truck Collision, Feb 1947
FOUR NOW DEAD IN CRASH OF 'DAYLIGHT'
S.M. WOMAN AMONG INJURED IN S.P. WRECK.
Kingsburg, Feb. 5. -- (U.P.) -- The death toll in the collision of the Southern Pacific's proud orange and red streamliner "San Joaquin Daylight" and an oil-laden truck here mounted to four today.
Sixty-four others, including MRS. HELEN EISELE of 738 Occidental Avenue, San Mateo, were injured when the speeding north-bound train smashed into the trailer of the truck and spewed flaming fuel over the locomotive and ten cars.
KAY HANSEN of 1841 Fish Avenue, Pasadena, died in Kingsburg sanitarium today from burns and injuries incurred in the holocaust.
As fire blackened cars of the streamliner were removed from the scene, only seared foliage, charred railroad ties and scattered bits of burned baggage marked the road bed where the locomotive dragged the exploded and blazing trailer 1000 feet down the track.
As the train stopped, jets of flame spewed against the windows where 263 passengers looked out in horror. Among them, but unharmed, was Amos Alonzo Stagg, patriarch of American football coaches who was on his way from Los Angeles to Stockton.
Engine Crew Killed.
The explosion and swirling inferno of ignited oil killed GEORGE SCHNECKENBERGER, the engineer; ERNEST M. COMER, the fireman, both of Bakersfield, Calif., and MRS. SARA E. BADGLEY, an aged passenger from Dunsmuir, Calif.
SCHNECKENBERGER apparently put on the locomotive's brakes before he died. If he hadn't, officials said, the fiery train might have continued for miles across the plain -- with other trainmen unable to reach the cab because of the flames and firefighters left helplessly behind in Kingsburg. A steam locomotive has no "dead man's throttle" to halt it automatically.
The driver of the truck, PHILIP LEE MAYER, 21, of Fresno, who escaped injury, claimed the automatic wigwag signal at the grade crossing was not working when he started across the tracks. Southern Pacific officials disputed his claim.
Early today, 47 people still were in San Joaquin valley hospitals, mostly suffering from minor burns. Among the injured was GEORGE C. MASSINE, the daylight's head brakeman, who suffered burned hands and feet.
Passengers said flames licked up the sides of the coaches, and oil stuck in window crevices blazed in haloes around the glass panes.
Continued on Page 2.