Granite, CO Train Plunges Into Arkansas River, Sep 1926



Salida, Colo., Sept. 6 -- (By The Associated Press) -- The death list in the derailment yesterday of the Denver and Rio Grande Western's crack Scenic Limited train 45 miles west of here mounted to 23 early today, according to an official announcement by the company officials. Of this number four bodies, a man, two women and a small girl are in the morgue at Leadville unidentified.
Thirty-eight victims of the wreck still were undergoing treatment today in the Denver & Rio Grande hospital here and of this number but one is not expected to recover. She is HILDA EVERETT, 17-year-old, sister of ALBERT EVERETT of Avon, Colorado, whose body has been recovered from the wreckage. In announcing the serious condition of MISS EVERETT, hospital authorities also made known the names of nine persons whose injuries are listed as serious, but whose recovery is assured.
The revised list issued this morning, however, contains two names of the dead which were eliminated last night as duplicates.
On Sharp Curve.
The accident occurred on a sharp curve nine miles below Granite when the giant mogul engine, pulling a train of 14 cars, was derailed, plunged into the Arkansas river and carried five coaches into the stream with it. Most of the deaths occurred in the two foremost day coaches, which crashed into the cliff, telescoping as they struck before plunging into the icy waters.
Cries of Injured.
Crews from two construction camps nearby hurried to the rescue and administered crude first aid to the most badly injured and began the task of reclaiming the dead and wounded from the cars, partially submerged in the water. By the time a relief train from Salida carrying doctors and nurses arrived; cries from the wounded rent the air along the banks of the river where the other groups half dazed survivors, huddled about improvised campfires in an effort to thaw out after being precipitated into the stream. Motor tourists passing near the scene of the wreck along the Pikes Peak Ocean to Ocean highway, also rendered what assistance they could before the arrival of the relief train, which brought many of the dead and 61 injured into this city.
Wounded Released.
Pathetic scenes were enacted as frantic mothers, husbands and wives searched for their loved ones in the wreckage. Other survivors apparently dazed, ran about unable to tell their names for several hours. Many of the dead were imprisoned in the wreckage of coaches while rescue workers, equipped with acetylene torches, brought many wounded from their imprisonment within the twisted steel coaches.
According to Denver & Rio Grande officials, the train was on time and was proceeding at its normal speed or slightly less when the accident occurred. The giant engine that pulled a score to death in its plunge was returning from its maiden trip over the route after a successful run two days before to Salt Lake City from Denver. It was one of the largest locomotives in use on any American railroad, with a length of 106 feet and equipped with the most modern of engineering devices.
250 On Train.
More than 250 passengers were estimated to have comprised the train's cargo of human freight being carried over what is commonly described at one of the most scenic railroad trips in America.
The accident occurred but nine miles from the scene of another wreck a year ago of two of the system's crack trains, the "Panoramic Specials," that crashed head on with a loss of two lives. Granite lies on the east side of the Tennessee pass and along the Arkansas river canyon, which continues on southward for nearly a hundred miles, culminating at the lower end in the famous Royal gorge. To the west stand some of the ruggedest mountains in the state -- the Sawatch range, in which are found Mount Massive and Mount Yale, two of the highest peaks in Colorado. The inaccessibility of the region added to the horrors of the wreck and the comparative, slowness with which relief reached the sufferers.

Salida, Colo., Sept. 6 -- (By The Associated Press) -- The official list of casualties as announced by railroad officials contained the names of the following 23 persons:
G. M. LILLIS, Salida, traveling engineer.
GEORGE GEARHART, Salida, engineer, "deadheading" from Grand Junction to his home.
TILLMAN DANIELS, 18, Jonesboro, Ark.
MRS. DOROTHY C. RATHBUNE, Buena Vista, Colo.
MRS. CORRINE LOCKMAN, 203 Lee street, Clarksburg, W. Va.
DENNIS J. REDMOND, 1274 Ogden street, Denver, Colo.
CLARENCE E. DOBLER, 603 West Second street, Kearney, Neb.
HAROLD HARPENDING, engineer, Salida, Colo., in charge of the train.
MRS. JOHN HOLT, Elmont, Kas.
JUDS ISABELL, 7, Minturn, Colo.
RUTH ISABELL, 15, Minturn, Colo.
MRS. LOUISE BOWLES, Leadville, Colo., originally listed as MRS. MARTIN LANE.
HILDA EVERETT, 17, Avon, Colo.
ASA WOODWORTH, Elmore, Calif.
Two Unidentified Children.
Unofficial sources told of five additional dead, which could not be confirmed by railroad officials. They were:
MRS. OLLIE PERSCHBACKER, 17, a bride of two weeks.
E. F. BOVEE, engineer, of Salida, known to have been on the train and now unaccounted for.
MARTHA R. COFFMAN, Harrison, Ark.
A child, traveling on a half-fare ticket with MRS. COFFMAN.
An unidentified girl of approximately four years, whose body in unclaimed in the morgue at Leadville.
A four-year-old boy traveling with GERTRUDE COCKRILL of Lawton, Okla., also is missing and believed to be dead.
The nine passengers in the hospital whose injuries today are listed as serious with recovery assured are:
MRS. ANNA COCKRILL, 1205 Cave, Lawton, Okla.
MR. and MRS. T. S. LYNCH, 539 Freeman avenue, Kansas City, Kans.
HELEN HOLT, Elmont, Kans.
VIVIAN C. DANIEL, 212 East Nettleton, Jonesboro, Ark.
MRS. FLORENCE PARK, 1901 Broadway, Little Rock, Ark.
TIMOTHY McLANAHAN, a railroad fireman of Salida.
BEATRICE BRENNAN, Leadville, Colo.
Albert GRAHAM, of Detroit, Colo.
Sixteen persons are listed as not seriously injured, while 18 are listed as suffering from minor injuries.

The Ogden Standard-Examiner Utah 1926-09-06



As Investigation of Denver & Rio Grande Western Wreck Gets Under Way President PYEATT Issues Statement Blaming Excessive Speed For Disaster; Death List Stands at 28 and May Go to 30.

Salida, Colo., Sept. 7 -- (By The Associated Press) -- The death here last night of HILDA EVERETT, 17, of Avon, Colo., brought to 28 the casualty list in the Denver and Rio Grande Western wreck near Granite, Colo., Sunday. While physicians stated that the girl had been injured internally they ascribed her death to shock as the result of the experiences she had undergone.
Rescue workers found the girl in the wreckage of the day coach holding the boy of her 10-year-old brother ALBERT. She never had lost consciousness from the time she was pinned beneath the car until rescued. Her brother, she told hospital attendants, had lived for nearly five hours, although only semi-conscious. For seven hours she tried to rouse him. Before help reached the pair he died in her arms.
All the other injured in the wreck who were brought to the Rio Grande hospital here, will recover, physicians said today.
Excessive Speed.
The road management concluded the first phase of its investigation last night and President J. S. PYEATT announced that 'excessive speed' by the train on sharp curves was responsible for the accident. The president's statement placed responsibility for the crash on the shoulders of G. M. LILLIS, road foreman of equipment, who was at the throttle when the giant mogul left the tracks and pulled five cars into the bed of the Arkansas river with it.
LILLIS died in the crash.
Goes Too Fast.
PYEATT said that the investigation showed the train was running 25 minutes late and at a speed of from 40 to 45 miles an hour around the curving tracks when the accident occurred. Road rules do not allow a maximum speed of more than 30 miles an hour around the curve where the crash occurred, PYEATT declared, adding that LILLIS was aware of the rule.
Meanwhile the coroner of Lake county and representatives of both interstate commerce commission and state public utilities commissions pursued their separate investigations to fix the responsibility for the wreck. The I. C. G. representatives announced that they would hold their first official hearing at Salida Wednesday morning and requested President PYEATT and other Denver and Rio Grande officials to be present.
Armed with acetylene torches, gangs of workmen still tore their way through the tangled wreckage of the coaches in search of bodies believed to be imprisoned within.
Four additionsl bodies -- those of J. D. TURNER, of Hastings, Minn., and of an Adult White Woman and Two Small Children, were found late yesterday. The three latter have not been identified. Workmen expressed the belief that before their search is ended enough additional bodies would be found in the wreckage to bring the death list to 30.

The Ogden Standard-Examiner Utah 1926-09-07