Eden, CO Train Disaster - Worst Wreck on the D. & R. G.


Mourning Darkens More Than Forty Private Homes – In Some Instances Whole Families are Wiped Out. 100 Lives Known to Have Been Lost, Sixty-Six Bodies Identified, Six Unidentified and Twenty-Eight Still Missing -- Waters Are Receding and Search Goes On.

PUEBLO, Aug. 8. --- Denver and Rio Grande passenger train No. 11, (Missouri Pacific World's Fair Flyer) south and east bound, crushed through a bridge over the arroya [sic] of Dry Creek, near Eden, a small station eight miles north of Pueblo, at 8 o'clock last night.

The latest estimate of the lives lost places the total number at 100 or more.
Dry creek is fifty feet wide, fifteen feet deep, with steep precipitous banks. Water was flowing over the approaching trestles, as the result of a cloud burst back in the foothills. The engine had almost got across the bridge when it slipped back and with the baggage car, smoker and chair cars plunged into the raging torrent. The engine fell on the right side. The diner and Pullman did not go down.

The operator at Eden nearly a mile away heard the cry for help and rushed to the scene as soon as possible. When the news reached Pueblo a rescue train was rushed to the wreck, and soon two hundred people were patrolling the river for miles with lanterns and torches. The express car was found near the scene of the wreck with the safe opened and the contents gone.

With the breaking of daylight this morning the full horror of the scene became apparent. Wreckage is visible in all directions, dead bodies being seen here and there in the piles of debris from the cars, drift wood and mud. Many bodies were carried down Fountain creek by the wall of water which had force enough to carry several coaches nearly four miles from the point where they went through the bridge. The body of engineer HINMAN was found 200 feet down the river. The chair car was found half a mile from the scene of the accident half full of sand in which were buried many bodies. The smoker was washed still further down and was not located for several hours.

PUEBLO, Noon. --- Up to this hour the number of bodies recovered approximates thirty. Special trains are leaving every few minutes and thousands of persons are patrolling the banks of Fountain creek, into which the cars were carried by the flood, searching for bodies, but the stream is so swollen that little progress can be made.
Owing to the fact that the conductor's list of names was lost in the confusion following the accident, only an estimate of the dead and missing can be had. Shortly after daybreak hundreds of persons began swarming to the scene of the wreck and the banks of the river were lined with people watching for bodies which might float past.

At 11 o'clock the river began receding below the scene of the wreck and bodies are now being discovered on the sand bars partially covered with mud. They are being brought to this city and are taken to the morgue.

Eleven bodies have so far been identified. They are: MISS IRENE WRIGHT, Pueblo; MAJOR W. H. WILHAM, Kansas; DOROTHY JOHNSON, Pueblo; J. S. REESE, express messenger; CHARLES HINMAN, engineer; J. H. SMITH, conductor and his wife, Denver; A. E. HOES, MRS. JOHN MOLITOR and two children, Pueblo. Twenty four other bodies are not yet identified. In addition twenty-two more are known to be missing.

A force of nearly five hundred men are now at the wreck. Many persons reported lost earlier have since been located and many of them had narrow escapes, some being severely hurt. The list of missing, however, has been considerably augmented and every few minutes adds to the horrible details of the story.

Passenger train No. 11, known as the Rio Grande & Missouri Pacific World's Fair Flyer, is the fastest train sent out by the Rio Grande, and usually carried a very heavy passenger business.

PUEBLO, Aug. 9. --- Deep gloom has settled down upon the city today following the railroad horror, which snuffed out a hundred or more lives yesterday. Many business houses are closed out of respect to the dead and more than forty private homes are darkened and in mourning.

The calamity is the heaviest ever fallen upon this city. Entire families have been wiped out, an instance being that of J. Q. THOMAS, commercial agent of the Santa Fe railroad, who together with his wife lost their lives in the raging waters.

All night long the search was kept up and an occasional body was located, but in the darkness the work was necessarily slow. Most of the treacherous streams emptying into Fountain river, into which nearly all the dead bodies were washed, this morning has fallen to nearly normal and the work of rescue will be much easier, although still dangerous from quick sands, which delayed the work yesterday. This, however, does not deter the workers who took up the work again this morning.

Bodies have been found more than ten miles from the scene of disaster and reports of bodies even farther are heard.

The death list as compiled this morning shows a total of sixty-six identified bodies, total known to be missing twenty-eight and unidentified six, making an even hundred lost. This list will likely be added to during the day.

Mayor BROWN issued a proclamation today calling for a public meeting for the purpose of arranging a patrol of the Fountain and Arkansas rivers in the hope of finding more of the victims of the wreck. Hundreds of men have responded to the call and the work has been taken up under the direction of officers. The railroad situation is improved this morning over the Rio Grande tracks and traffic was resumed.

At 10:30 a train bringing in two more dead bodies reached this city.

Another train carrying one hundred searchers left the city at 11 o'clock. The body of a woman about twenty-five years old, handsomely dressed, was found twenty-two miles down the Arkansas river and brought here to be identified.

LATER -- The body of A. M. SCHMITZ, of Denver; has been found six miles down the Arkansas river.

A rigid investigation of the wreck will be made by a coroner's jury impanelled this morning. The inquest will begin at 2 o'clock this afternoon and an effort will be made to fix the responsibility. The jury went to the scene of the disaster at 10 o'clock this morning.

Complete returns from all the undertaking establishments in the city up to 2 o'clock this afternoon materially reduces the death list, and according to practically official figures it shows sixty-three identified and two unidentified dead bodies.
A number are still reported missing and how many of these are really dead will probably never by know. The finding of bodies seems to have practically ceased.

PUEBLO, Aug. 10. --- Undertakers and liverymen were severely taxed in supplying hearses and vehicles for the funerals of the wreck victims today but all were finally accommodated and soon long lines were wending their was to the various cemeteries.

The search for the victims resumed at daybreak today but the chances of further finding of the dead grow fainter as time passes, although many persons supposed to be victims are as yet unaccounted for.

The work of identification has been difficult and names have been duplicated with trifling variations, thus swelling the list. The identified dead as reported this morning with additional bodies discovered yesterday make the list of identified dead seventy-one, with three still unidentified and twenty-eight missing. The coroner's jury was brought together again this morning and resumed its investigation.

Telluride Journal Colorado 1904-08-11