Lebanon, MO Train Plunges Off Trestle, Sep 1914
TRAIN IN CLOUDBURST -- 27 PERSONS DROWNED.
TWO PASSENGER CARS OF FRISCO TRAIN TOPPLE INTO DEEP GULLY OF WATER.
DURING HEAVY STORM.
NEWS OF DISASTER NEAR LEBANON DELAYED BY INTERRUPTION OF COMMUNICATION.
RAIN WEAKENS TRACK.
ENGINEER SEES WALL OF WATER COMING BUT IS UNABLE TO STOP TRAIN IN TIME.
St. Louis., Sept. 15 -- Twenty-seven persons were drowned early Tuesday, when St. Louis and San Francisco west bound passenger train number five, St. Louis to Texas, ran into a cloud burst two miles west of Lebanon, Missouri, and two passenger cars toppled into a deep gully full of water.
Fifteen of the dead have been identified. Eighteen persons were injured, but none of them hurt seriously. Ninety-nine persons including the train crew were on the train and all have been accounted for.
The wreck occurred before day break, but as telegraph and telephone communications were interrupted by the heavy storm Monday night, nothing was known of the disaster at the Frisco general offices here until 8 o'clock Tuesday morning.
Happens At Curve.
The accident occurred at a curve which marked the edge of a ravine characteristic of the Ozark hill country. For several hours the train had been going carefully, as the engineer feared the heavy rains had weakened the track. Just as the engine hit the curve two miles from Lebanon, Engineer O'BRIEN saw a cloud burst seemingsly a wall of wather ahead of him. Though the train was going only fifteen miles an hour, he closed the throttle but before the train could be brought to a stop, the water was upon it. THe twelve foot embankment on which the track crossed the ravine was swept away apparently by the rush of water and as the track sagged under the weight of the train, the chair car and smoker, toppled over into the ravine. The engine and the mail and baggage cars had crossed the depest part of the ravine and though they were pulled from the rails and toppled over, they did not fall into the water. The fireman was killed, however, apparently having been crushed. the engineer escaped. None of the mail clerks or express messengers were hurt. The hour sleeping care remained on the track.
Chair Car Filled.
The chair car was well filled. Twenty-seven were drowned, many of them apparently while they slept. Others clambered through the windows of the submerged cars and swam to safety. A nurse, MISS NORMA CAMPBELL, of St. Louis, climbed to the upturned side of the the chair car and rescued five imprisoned passengers by pulling them through the windows.
That the wreck was due to a cloud burst is indicated by the fact that another train passed over the ravine an hour before the Texas limited was derailed. Traffic was tied up until late this afternoon and the first train, from the west to pass the scene after the accident did not reach St. Louis until Tuesday night.
The identified dead:
HENRY WAGONER, Harrison, Arkansas.
W. A. CHILDERS, Clover, Mo.
MRS. JOHN MYERS, Thayer, Mo.
J. H. STOCKSTILL, Springfield, Mo., fireman.
VERNON CALVIN, Rumley, Ark.
GEORGE COXEY, Greenforest, Ark.
H. W. NEWKIRK, Hannibal, Mo.
C. NEAL, Ketchum, Okla.
MRS. ELIZABETH ROSTELLER, Alliance, Ohio.
LENA MYERS, Thayer, Mo.
DAISY PERRY, Address unknown.
ELSIE CALVIN, Rumley, Ark.
W. W. NAYLOR, Springfield, Mo.
AUGUST WITTNER, St. Louis.
MRS. GEORGE BROWN, Bush, Ark.
LEE DONNELL of Springfield, an employe of the St. Louis & San Francisco railroad who was aboard the wrecked train, said that almost all of the dead were found in the forward chair car, which was submerged in fifteen feet of water. Several persons were taken from the day coach and resuscitated, according to DONNELL.
"When the engine struck the sag in the track caused by the washout a shower of muddy water enveloped the locomotive, filling our mouths, noses and ears," Engineer O'BRIEN told DONNELL in describing the disaster. "Despite the fact that we were feeling our way along, the catastrophe came without warning. The engine seemed to leap forward clear of the track and into the air. Then it buried its nose in the embankment and I jumped."
J. H. STOCKSTILL, the remaining was pinned beneath the engine and crushed and scalded almost beyond recognition.
With the murky waters rushing into the overturned coaches, a number of persons were taken out through windows and holes broken through the roof.
A special train left Springfield early this evening for the purpose of bringing the injured to hospitals here. However, because of the condition of the roadbed, the train was obliged to proceed slowly and had not returned at a late hour tonight.
The Cedar Rapids Republican Iowa 1914-09-16