Sudbury, ON (near) Train Plunges Into River, Jan 1910




Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., Jan. 22. -- It is now believed between thirty and forty persons were killed in yesterday's wreck of train No. 7 on the Soo branch of the Canadian Pacific on the bridge crossing the Spanish river, thirty-eight miles from Sudbury, Ont. The train records show that when the train left Sudbury at noon there were approximately 100 persons aboard.
Therer are twenty-two injured being cared for in Sudbury and a score of injured in this city and other nearby towns. Only a few escaped injury or death.
Many of the injured will die, and it is possible that the total death list will reach close to fifty.
The exact number of dead will not be known for several days, as divers will have to thoroughly explosre the Spanish river, into the icy waters of which three of the seven cars of the ill-fated train plunged. In the burned wreckage of the four other cars are undoubtedly the remains of many others, making a complete list of the casualties almost impossible.
The train was made up of a locomotive, mail and baggage car, express, second-class coach, colonist car, first-class coach, diner and Pullman.
The Spanish river bridge is an iron bridge and the heavy train struck it on the down grade while going at a high rate of speed. As the train was crossing the bridge the trucks of the second-class car jumped the track, presumably from a broken rail. The car was cut in two against the bridge abutments, so great was the momentum of the train. One-half of this car, with the colonists' car, first-class coach and dining car, were hurled into the Spanish river, crashing through the ice and being swept half across the stream.
The Pullman broke from the rest of the train and toppled down the bank on its side.
The known dead:
GEORGE M'ILHENNY, fireman, North Bay.
WILL LAVERY, fireman.
MRS. C. HOUDE, Ontario.
JOHN KEASBECK, fireman, North Bay.
Unidentified Priest, believed to live in Montreal.
The known injured:
G. A. R. MARTIN, drummer, Waterloo, Ont.
GEORGE DOBOLUCK, Erie River, Mich.
D. J. PIERCE, Toronto.
W. J. BELL, Sudbury, dying.
W. E. MANSFIELD, Montreal.
W. G. H. WILMOT, Montreal.
Judge D. M. BRODIE, Sudbury.
THOMAS PARISH, Pullman waiter, St. Paul.
R. SMITH, Ontario.
J. W. WAGE, Sudbury.
P. O'BRIEN, Randall, Man.
MR. and MRS. BROWN, London, Ont.
MRS. G. DIER, Bozeman, Mont.
ALFRED ROUSEL, child, of Coo, Ont.
A. L. McDONALD, Minneapolis.
ARTHUR IRWIN, Manistee, Mich.
HANS EDMAN, Norwegian.
A more terrifying death than those who were thus trapped in the waters of the river could scarcely be imagined and was only matched by the fate that befell the helpless victims who were pinned in the wreckage of the cars that escaped the river, but which were attacked by flames almost immediately. Passengers in the submerged cars fought like mad men to escape. Many of them succeeded in breaking through the windows only to find themselves imprisoned by the ceiling of ice. Eight of those in the diner succeeded in escaping, but so far as known not one of those in the second-class coach (the half that went into the river), colonist and first-class coach escaped.
The dining car was not immediately submerged, which fact enabled Conductor REYNOLDS and others of the train crew to pull eight of the imprisoned passengers from the windows and through a hole torn in the roof.

An Awful Scene.
Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., Jan. 22. -- "The most horrible and, at the same time, the most pitiful sight in my quarter of a century of railroading," was the brief summary of a railroad man who came in today on a freight that had just come from the scene of the wreck of the ill fated Canadian Pacific passenger train No. 7, just west of Sudbury, Ont.
According to this Canadian Pacific employe and others of the crew of the freight the fellow passengers of the killed and injured rendered heroic aid in the rescue work. Some suffered serious burns trying to extricate the passengers from the burning second-class coach, while others plunged into the Spanish river, making their way between great cakes of ice, broken by the fall of the day coach, as they tried to reach men and women who succeeded in breaking out of their submerged prison.
The freight crew says that only the roof of the day coach is visible above the surface of the river and that the open water where the coach broke through is fast freezing over, making the work of the divers exploring the coach most perilous.
Without any fire-fighting apparatus the other passengers fought the fire consuming the two second class passenger coaches with snow. According to the freight crew the day coach was the only one that went into the water, the diner going part way. Its few occupants escaped. The sleeper turned over and lay on the brink of the river. Eighteen are said to have been killed in one of the second class coaches alone. On account of the blizzard it is difficult to get into direct communication with the scene of the wreck, the wires being in bad shape.

How the Wreck Occurred.
Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., Jan. 22. -- It is impossible at this time to give the accurate number of dead in yesterday's wreck of train No. 7 on the Soo branch of the Canadian Pacific.
The wreck is believed to have been caused by a broken rail. The train was running at a high rate of speed down grade when the engine struck a faulty rail and jumped the track. The engine and five cars bumped along on the ties for some distance before plunging down a steep embankment. The last two cars of the train, a day coach and a diner, broke from the rest of the train and toppled down the embankment at a point that sent them into the Spanish river. The heavy ice of the river was broken as though it had been the thinnest glass and the impetus of the cars was such that they were carried almost half way across the river.
It is left to the imagination to picture whether whose who were trapped in the cars that plunged into the river and drowned without any chance of escape suffered a worse fate than those pinned in the wreckage of the five forward cars, some of whom were incinerated in the flames that broke out shortly after the cars went down the embankment.
Within a few minutes after the two cars fell into the river bodies began to float to the top. Submarine divers sent from this city in a special train are now at work on the river wreckage, but it is not yet stated how many bodies they have recovered. The entire bed of the river will have to be searched, as some of the bodies may have floated a great distance.
It was several hours after the wreck before efficient relief could be sent to the scene and the suffering of the victims in the meantime was such as to drive many of the uninjured almost insane. Physicians finally reached the scene from this city, Sudbury, Panola and North Bay and a wrecking train from the latter town was hurried to the place with General Superintendent GUTELIUS aboard.

Still In Doubt This Afternoon.
Sudbury, Ont., Jan. 22. -- At 3 o'clock this afternoon the officials of the Canadian Pacific railway were still in doubt as to the actual number killed in yesterday's wreck twenty-eight miles west of this town, the estimates ranging from thirty-seven to sixty-three. It is known that thirty-seven were injured, of whom several are expected to die. The divers are still searching the wrecked cars for bodies, and twelve which have been recovered have been brought here. The first definite information regarding the manner in which the disaster took place reached here late this afternoon. The cause, like that of several recent wrecks, was a broken rail. The train was running more than fifty miles an hour on a down grade and the engine and forward cars had passed onto the bridge across the Spanish river safely when one of the middle cars struck the broken rail, smashed across against the end of the massive bridge and broke in half. Only half went into the river, breaking through the ice. It was followed by the second car and then the diner. The wreckage of the smashed car caught fire and a number of its inmates were burned to death.
WILLILAM DUNDAS, the mail clerk, tells the following story of the disaster:
"We were about half a train's length from the Spanish river bridge when I felt the car in which I was riding begin to shake and I then knew that part of the train was off the track. Then I felt the air applied. I kept to the train when I felt her pulling up and directly we were slowing down on the other side of the bridge I jumped. Immediately the second class car jumped the track, it struck an upright of the bridge and telescoped. The first part remained on the bridge and burned, while the other half simply leaped out into the stream with the other two coaches behind it."
"One half of the broken car took its victims with it. Those in the first half were burned, while those in the second half were drowned. A few were rescued from the burning car. The dead taken from the half which ujumped to the river were removed and numbered ten. The first four taken from the half which was burned were alive, but terribly injured, and I doubt if they are still living. Directly I jumped from the train I looked about to render some assistance. The shrieks of the injured and dying could be heard, but I could not see anyone but two women on our side of the river. There were only three of us to do anything. The remainder on the other side of the bridge could not get across. Later we were joined by two men who were in the bridge construction crew farther up the river. We five did all we could for five hours before assistance reached us."
"The brakeman in the car which broke in two was thrown completely into the air and fell on the ice. No sooner did he fall than he jumped up and, scaling the bank, came to our assistance, though he was terribly bruised. THe worst thing I ever saw was the case of a Norwegian woman about twenty-five years of age. When we extricated her she had three tremendous wounds across the head. Her right leg was terribly torn and injured above the right ankle to the knee, laying bare to the bone."
"On the other side I could see a body of men, employed by the Bell Telephone company, traveling to the Soo, working like trojans. When the three coaches went into the river they went through the ice like bullets and did not break the ice for more than a foot on each side of them. When I left there had been none taken from either of the cars that went into the river."
Among the identified dead this afternoon were:
GEORGE M'CLELLAN, traveling auditor C.P.R.
D. A. MUNDY, Montreal.
P. KINAHAM, Bruce Mines.
CLARA W. TEES, Cochrane.
Father CARRIER, Bend River.

The Fort Wayne News Indiana 1910-01-22

(NOTE: The number of fatalities was finalized at 43.