Glen Rock, WY Train Wreck, Sept 1923
FORTY BELIEVED DEAD IN WYOMING TRAIN WRECK; THREE BODIES RECOVERED
RAGING COAL CREEK HALTS RESCUE WORK
PASSENGERS BURIED UNDER DEBRIS AS TRAIN GOES INTO STREAM.
FEAR TO HOIST CARS
Hundreds Visit Scene of Wreck and See Imprisoned Victims, Unable to Give Aid.
By The Associated Press
CASPER, Wyo., Sept. 28. - Upward of two score persons perished Thursday night when Chicago, Burlington & Quincy passenger train No. 30 broke through a small bridge spanning Coal Creek, fifteen miles east of Casper, Wyo., rescue workers estimated Friday night, although only three bodies have actually been found.
The plunge of the engine, baggage car, smoked, chair car and one Pullman coach through the bridge, weakened by the lashing current of the usually placid little stream caused by recent heavy rains, imprisoned the occupants of these cars who had little opportunity to escape.
Rescue parties were hampered Friday night by snow and rain which started shortly after the wreck and has continued unabated while workmen stand helplessly on the banks of the raging little stream whose force during the day caused the submerged cars with their grim burden to settle still deeper into the creek bead.
Plunge to Destruction.
The crack Casper-Denver train hurrying through the storm at reduced speed is believed by railroad men to have started its plunge to destruction as the engine hit the first span of the bridge. The baggage coach apparently slid into the current on top of the engine and was crushed like an egg shell. The smoker, where greatest loss of life is believed to have occurred, was completely submerged. One end of the chair car was lifted out of the water by resting on the smoker, and this helped to save those in this car. One Pullman coach came to rest on the bank of the stream with one end in the water. Four men in the Pullman smoker are reported to have been caught in this death trap.
Believe Forty Dead.
No additional bodies were recovered from the wreck Friday afternoon and the known dead consists of NICHOLAS SCHMETTZ of Douglas, Wyo.; D. E. SCHULTZ of Casper, a baggageman, and an unidentified man who was beating his way on the tracks of the baggage car. It is impossible to accurately estimate the total toll of lives taken by the wreck. Generally a conservative estimate of dead is believed to be forty. Some persons maintain many other lost their lives, while railroad officials say fewer persons were lost.
The death figure probably will not be known for many days.
Out of approximately eighty persons believed to have been passengers on the train about forty have been accounted for in the list of dead and survivors. The estimate is based on statements made by passengers who passed through the day coaches prior to the wreck. These coaches are still submerged.
Flood Handicaps Workers.
Newspaper men returning from the scene of the wreck said no more bodies would be recovered until Saturday morning, due to the high flood waters. The flood current of the creek is running about seventy-five feet wide and has shown no signs of receding.
Hundreds of people visited the scene of the wreck Friday and silently viewed the tangled mass of steel and wood in the stream. They gazed at the wrecked express car and saw the legs of a man clad in faded blue overalls, the feet dangling in the water. In the vestibule of the same car the body of a man hanging face downward, could be seen. And, while they stood helpless, unable to reach the victims, the angry current roared over the sides of the car.
To attempt to reach the imprisoned bodies meant death in the swollen stream.
Father of Firemen Cries.
Arrangement had been completed to erect derricks and hoist the cars with their toll from the stream, but this plan was abandoned through fear that coaches would be broken and bodies lost. As a result they will remain all night in the watery tomb and plans will be laid to explore them with the arrival of daybreak Saturday, when it is probable that they will be uncovered.
Survivors removed from the flood on the east bank were taken to Douglas, while those removed from Pullman on the west were brought to Casper. For the most part those brought here remained in Pullmans at the Burlington station until they could be provided with clothing, many having abandoned theirs on the sleeper.
The creek into which the train plunged without warning, after leaving Casper at 8:35 Thursday night, is ordinarily dry, but had been swelled to the proportions of a river by a cloudburst which followed heavy rains that had continued for the last to days.
Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas 29 Sept 1923