Brooklyn, NY Terrible Accident In Engine Room, Jan 1884



An accident occurred int he engine room of the East River bridge, in Prospect street, Brooklyn, yesterday morning, which resulted in the instant death of PATRICK McBRIDE, who was engaged in oiling the machinery, and the tearing of his head completely from his body. No person saw McBRIDE before the accident, and it is impossible to say just how it occurred. Engineer HART and Bridge Trustee SWAN were standing near the large driving-wheel over which the cable which runs the cars passes, at a few minutes after 9 o'clock, when they felt a sudden shock, and at the same instant the mangled body of McBRIDE was thrown into the air by the wheel with great violence. The head rolled across the floor, and the rest of the unfortunate man's body lay where it fell, near the wheel. As soon as MESSRS HART and SWAN had recovered from their shock they examined the floor, and found that a portion of the planking where the wheel passed upward in its revolution had been torn away, and that McBRIDE'S body had been carried around by the wheel, striking the flooring, which is of 3 1/2-inch planks, in its upward course, and shaffering it by the force of the blow. How the oiler became entangled in the wheel can only be conjectured. The machinery, which it was his duty to oil and wipe, is within a few feet of the wheel, and a portion projects by the side of it. It is supposed that he was standing between the engine and the wheel, that he stepped back a little too far and one of his arms, probably his left, for it was almost torn off, became caught in the spokes. The half revolution brought the body up at the other end of the cut in the floor through which the wheel revolves. Death must have been instantaneous. McBRIDE'S clothes were torn into shreds, and almost every bone in his body was broken. Blood and pieces of flesh were scattered over the machinery and about the engine-room as the wheel continued to fly round at the rate of 56 revolutions a minute.
McBRIDE was a sober, industrious man, and had had a long experience with machinery. He was employed for years by the Union Ferry Company before he went to work in the bridge engine-room, and it was probably his familiarity with machinery that bred the want of caution which cost him his life. He was 42 years of age and leaves surviving him a widow and five children. The remains were removed last evening to his home at No. 247 Front street, Brooklyn.

The New York Times New York 1884-01-29