Hogansburg, NY International Bridge Collapse, Sept 1898


Pier Gave Way and Workmen Plunged to Death.


Engulfed In the Waters of the St. Lawrence – More Than Twenty Dead, and Many Crushed and Mangled by Falling Beams – Story of an Eyewitness.

Hogansburg, N. Y., Sept. 7.-- Two south spans of the International bridge of the New York and Ottawa railroad, now under construction across the St. Lawrence river, about three miles above St. Regis Indian village, fell without warning while about 60 men were at work on the bridge yesterday. All were thrown into the river, some 60 feet below.

Thirty-three were picked up and taken to Cornwall hospital. Eighteen of these died afterward. About 27 are now missing.

The bridge consists of three spans, of which two were completed, and the third was nearly finished when the south pier gave way at its foundation, causing both spans to fall, taking its load of human freight with it.

The names of the killed and drowned cannot at present be ascertained, as, excepting a few Indians from the St. Regis reservation, they were mostly from Pennsylvania.

As far as can be learned 87 men were on the pay roll of the bridge contractors, of whom 82 reported for work yesterday morning. Of this long list only 38 have actually been accounted for. Allowing that some of those unaccounted for will turn up after the excitement, the list of dead and injured will in all likelihood reach 25 and may reach 30.

Among those thrown into the river was the foreman, THOMAS F. BRADY (or BRICERLY), whose home is in Pottsville, Pa. He had not been accounted for up to a late hour last night and is supposed to be at the bottom of the river.

Just before dark the dead body of an Indian laborer was picked up on the Cornwall side. There was only a slight bruise on his forehead. He probably was stunned by the fall and drowned before help came.

A Terrific Plunge
Cornwall, Ont., Sept. 7.-- An appalling disaster occurred near here yesterday, and its result will probably make a death list of 40 to 50. The great railroad bridge being erected across the St. Lawrence by the New York and Ottawa railroad gave way about noon, sending upward of 60 workmen down with the wreck into the rushing river 60 feet below. That a single man survived is remarkable.

Thirty-three of the victims have been brought to the hospital here and 18 of these are dead. It is believed that more than 20 are yet in the river, and it is expected that the death roll will not be completed for many days.
The workmen were largely from the New York side of the river, and it is almost impossible to obtain their names. A number of victims were Indians from the famous St. Regis tribe, whose reservation is in the northwestern part of Franklin county.

An eyewitness of the affair says he was sitting on the bank of the river watching the busy workmen above him, when suddenly, without warning, there came a fearful crash and two spans of the bridge collapsed, the immense mass of timber and iron dropped down, and the agonizing shrieks of the men who were being crushed in the wreck were drowned by the rushing waters. Then he saw floating bodies coming to the surface and the work of rescue began. This was helplessly inadequate, there being only a few boats in the vicinity and few men who would undertake to swim out into the turbulent waters.

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