Hackettstown (Rockport), NJ Train Disaster, June 1925
BIG TOLL TAKEN IN A NEW JERSEY WRECK.
LATEST REPORT SHOWS AT LEAST 27 WERE KILLED.
THUNDERSTORM CLOGGED A SWITCH WITH SAND CAUSING A DERAILMENT.
Hackettstown, N.J., June 16. -- (UP) -- At least 27 persons had died up to 2:30 p.m., today as a result of the worst accident on an American railway in recent months.
The wreck occurred near Hackettstown, when an excursion train from Chicago, carrying a party of Germans from the middlewest to New York, where they were to embark today for Germany, plunged into a switch which had been clogged with debris during last night's rain and electrical storm.
Three cars and the engine rolled over while steam pipes burst and sprayed with live steam dozens of passengers.
Six dead were taken from the wreckage; 16 others died in a hospital at Easton, Pa.; one died enroute to a hospital; and four died in a hospital at Dover, N.J.; all from injuries and most of them from burns.
Approximately fifty persons were injured while a score of others received first aid treatment on the scene.
The accident occurred during a heavy thunderstorm that had clogged a switch with sand and other debris. The engine plunged down an embankment and was buried beneath three cars.
Coming from the west, the train was crowded with emigrants who were to take a boat at New York for Germany today.
The injured were taken in ambulances and private automobiles to the Easton, Pa., hospital.
The engineer, fireman, and a brakeman were among those reported killed.
The scene of the wreck is in an isolated section. Farmers living in the neighborhood heard the crashing of the cars above the noise of the storm. Investigating, they found men, women, and children many painfully injured, vainly trying to extricate relatives or friends from the tangled, smouldering wreckage.
Several bodies were removed after daylight from the wreckage of the first coach.
Scores of volunteers arrived and assisted in the search for victims who may have been imprisoned as the cars tumbled in a heap.
The switch at which the wreck occurred was broken and a portion of it was bent and stood straight up. After it was derailed the engine bumped along the ties for 20 feet and then dived over the embankment, dragging three cars after it.
One doctor said the death list would be greatly augmented as many of thosse scalded could not possibly recover. Those persons were in the first three cars, which filled with steam from broken pipes on the wrecked engine which lay a smoking mass of twisted steel, at the bottom of the heap of wreckage.
Nearing its destination, the train was forging ahead at a fast pace through the blinding storm when the accident occurred. His vision hampered by the pouring rain, the engineer was leaning far out of his cab to keep an eye on the gleaming rails ahead. Lightning flashed with stage-like frequency to an accompaniment of booming thunder.
Suddenly the cars swerved as the wheels dropped from the slippery rails on to the ties. Men, women and children were hurled from their seats. The engine plunged nose first into the rocky border of the roadbed. Three cars piled up on top of it. Broken pipes of the engine spurted scalding steam on helpless victims as they struggled vainly to extricate themselves from the tangled metal. Women and children were trampled in the mad stampede for safety. Passengers broke through windows, jagged with shattered glass.
At daylight, steam still poured from the broken pipes of the engines, but the wreckage had not taken fire. Railroad workers and volunteers searched the debris, removed six bodies and fifty other victims, some of the latter so seriously injured or scalded that they may die. A score of others were given first aid treatment.
16 MORE HAVE DIED.
Easton, Pa., June 16 -- (UP) -- Sixteen of the 38 persons injured in the train wreck at Rockport, N.J. have died since admittance to the Easton hospital this morning, physicians reported at noon.
MARY ZINK, 28.
HELEN WAGNER, 9.
MARTIN HELNIG, JR., 10.
PHILLIP SCHUSTER, 13.
An unidentified girl, 3 years old, and an unidentified woman.
All are from Chicago.
Both of HELNIG'S parents are in the hospital.
MARTIN HELNIG, SR., father of MARTIN HELNIG, JR., who died this morning.
MRS. ELIZABETH WUNGELMEIN.
Two unidentified women.
One unidentified man aged about 40.
One unidentified boy.
The following died in the Dover, N.J. hospital.
GEORGE TAULER, address unknown.
MRS. AUGUSTA ISINAN, Chicago.
MRS. AUGUSTA BERNHARDT, Chicago.
MRS. BARBARA FAHRNER, Chicago.
In addition to those dead in the Easton hospital, the following were among the six bodies taken from the wreckage of the train.
FREDERICK LOOMIS, engineer, of Scranton, Pa.
W. L. KENNEY, Buffalo, N.Y.
MR. and MRS. EDWIN BRUNNER and their three children.
MRS. ELIZABETH WUNGELMEIN.
IRENE WUNGELMEIN, 9, daughter.
MR. and MRS. CHARLES SAYER.
MRS. ANTONIO ERNEST.
MRS. ELSIE HELNIG.
OSCAR J. DAVID.
MRS. JOSEPHINE SCHMIDT.
MRS. JEANNETTE FERGUSON.
JOSEPH LA FORGE.
MR. and MRS. GRUNDER.
MR. and MRS. PAUL BERNHARDT.
MRS. HULDA STAEHNKE.
MRS. GUNDA ROTERMAN.
MRS. SOPHIA FINNENGER.
At Hospitals, Morristown, N.J.
MISS BARBARA FARNER, severe burns.
MISS F. BREICHNER, scalded severely.
MRS. ANA MEYERS, badly scalded.
At Warren Hospital, Phillipsburg.
MRS. CAROLINE HOWE.
MRS. LOUISE KAUFFMAN.
MRS. CATHERINE WYAT.
The following injured are in the Dover, N.J. hospital.
MRS. A. BERNHARDT, So. Highland, Chicago.
MRS. KATHERINE HARLING, Chicago.
CARL GANTZ, Chicago.
HANS FOSKE, Chicago.
JOHN ERNICEKITZ, address unknown.
KATHERINE WILGERMEIN, Chicago.
MRS. THEODORE JUERGENSEN.
MRS. EMMA RODERNING.
One unidentified woman.
All are from Chicago.
Chicago, Ill., June 16. -- (UP) -- Passengers on the Lackawanna train that was wrecked near Rockport, N.J., early today were members of an excursion party of Chicago Germans according to the Neumanns shipping agents, in charge of the tour. The party was made up of individuals and small family groups, Neumanns' officials said.
Sterling Daily Gazette Illinois 1925-06-16