Lawrence, MA Merrimac River Eleven Drownings, June 1913
11 BOYS DROWN IN RUSH TO SWIM
Forty Lads Plunge Into River When Walk Collapses
ALL FIGHT HARD FOR LIFE
A Narrow Wooden Walk, Leading Over Fifteen Feet of Water to Municipal Bathhouse in Merrimac River, Gave Way.
Lawrence, Mass. -- Eleven boys, all lads 8 to 12 years old and the children mostly of poor working people, lost their lives in the Merrimac River here, when a runway leading from the river to a municipal bathhouse collapsed under the combined weight of about fifty youngsters who crawled eagerly upon it anxious to get out of the hot sunshine and be the first to get undressed and dive into the cooling stream.
It is possible and more than probable that others perished, although two divers worked on the bottom of the river all evening but were unable to find more bodies.
When the runway crashed down into the water and dropped the crowd of children into the stream they struggled, fought and screamed desperately for their lives. They trampled one another down into the mud in their struggle to keep above the surface of the water.
Children in their fright grasped one another by the throat and went down fighting, locked in a death grip, while others kept their heads and managed to scramble to the shore, where they were helped out by other boys who had been unable to crowd upon the runway before it went to pieces or by men who came hurrying to the scene in response to the appealing and terrifying cries.
Three senseless forms were brought ashore almost immediately, but efforts to revive them were not attended with success. Their comrades who had been saved, either by their own exertions or those of others, stood around white faced and shivering from fright.
Boats soon arrived at the spot and bodies of other boys could be seen on the bottom of the stream. These were taken out as quickly as possible by the use of boat hooks and drags. The police and volunteers kept up the search for more victims until darkness fell, when divers were put to work.
The Cranbury Press New Jersey 1913-07-04