Silver Springs, FL Head On Train Collision, Nov 1908
FEARFUL RESULT OF FORGETFULNESS.
A TERRIBLE WRECK ON THE SEABOARD AIR LINE AT SILVER SPRINGS JUNCTION THIS MORNING.
FIVE MEN KILLED AND SEVERAL OTHERS BADLY INJURED.
TWO ENGINES AND A SCORE OF FREIGHT CARS CRUSHED TOGETHER IN A MOUNTAIN OF CONFUSION BENEATH WHICH LIES THE BODIES OF ENGINEER WAKEFIELD AND FIREMAN SABB.
A wreck occurred at the big curve near the Silver Springs Junction on the Seaboard railroad, three miles northeast of town at 12:20 this morning which, as far as we are able to ascertain, was one of the worst in the history of railroading in Florida. Five men were killed and the sixth will probably die.
A northbound freight train with fifteen or twenty cars, crashed into a southbound freight train with thirty-four cars. Where the trains met the curve is so sharp that one cannot see for two hundred yards and in addition at the time of the wreck a dense fog prevailed.
The terrible head-on collision was caused by the crew of No. 24 north-bound, forgetting that No. 11 south-bound, was due. This train was late and the northbound crew forget all about it and that they were running on its time. They should have met in the yards here where No. 24 was made up and started from.
The trains were going at a good rate of speed, as fast as they could go, probably on a sharp curve with heavy trains and the force of the collision was terrific. The two heavy engines locked and crushed into each other, with their tenders and cars on each side, into a shapeless mass of broken and twisted iron, wood and miscellaneous merchandise.
Engineer "DAD" N. M. WAKEFIELD, of No. 11, saw the approaching train and shouted to his fireman, TOM PHILLIPS. PHILLIPS jumped from the engine and had a miraculous escape, being painfully bruised, but not enough to lay him up. Poor old "DAD" one of the road's oldest and best loved engineers, a man of fifty-five years, who had been an engineer for twenty years, was literally buried beneath his engine and the great mass of wreckage, and despite the hard work among the wreckage, could not even be located up to 1 o'clock this afternoon.
LEE BESS, a negro brakeman who was dead-heading with WAKEFIELD, was killed. We could not learn where his home was.
P. D. SMITH, a young white man, barely of age and a head brakeman or flagman with WAKEFIELD, was killed. His home was in Leonard, West Va., where he has a brother Will, as was ascertained by a letter in his pocket.
E. R. PHILBRICK, of Jacksonville, head brakeman or flagman on northbound train No. 24, a young married man whose home is on Union Street, also barely of age, was so badly hurt that he died soon after he was taken to the hospital this morning. His home was formerly in Tallahassee, where his father, a physician, resides.
Fireman BOB SABB, colored, of No. 24, northbound, was instantly killed at his post of duty and where his body still remains, burned and scalded beyond any semblance of a human being. The body was right against the boiler and death must have been instantaneous. There was no chance to remove the body until the engines were pulled part.
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