From a City of Rejoicing Our Capital Becomes
a Place of Sorrow
A Crowded Car of Holiday Makers Crashes
Through Point Ellice Bridge
With A Loss of Upwards of Fifty Men, Women
Energetic Work of the Rescuers at the Scene
Victoria's Queen's Birthday carnival, so auspiciously
inaugurated with unalloyed enjoyment for citizens and visitors, was abruptly
terminated yesterday afternoon by a catastrophe so sudden, so awful and
so appalling in the loss of life entailed by it that no thought was left
for aught besides. Electric car number 16, in charge of Conductor Talbot
and Motorman Farr, was hurrying to the scene of the sham
battle, freighted to its capacity and beyond with holiday makers when in
an instant mirth was turned into mourning and between fifty and sixty souls
were hurried into eternity. The central span of Point Ellice bridge had
again given way, precipitating the car into the waters of the Arm, where
a majority of the imprisoned passengers – men, women and little children—to
whom the world had a moment before been all sunshine were drowned before
aid could reach them. The crashing timbers and ironwork of the bridge piled
upon the ill-fated car as the waters received it, and doubling up, pierced
it also from below, so that many were killed even before the water was
reached, while the others were less mercifully held below the muddy waters
– the tide was at the flood and running high – by the rapidly accumulating
debris. News of the calamity spread quickly and by 3 o'clock – the heavily
freighted car plunged through the bridge at exactly ten minutes to 2 –
a crowd of thousand filled the streets at the approaches to the death-trap
bridge – eager to be helpful, frantic with anxiety as to the fate of loved
ones who might have been on the car, or dazed, almost stupefied for the
time, by the magnitude of the disaster which had come upon the city. The
hour was not without its heroes who were quick to think and act, and to
these heroes, women and men, the salvation of many lives from the waters
is due, as well as the winning back from death of many who had to all appearances
passed into the shadowland. The work of the rescuers lasted through all
the afternoon, and by evening the greater number of the bodies had been
recovered, although it is practically certain that yet others are still
to be removed from the fatal waters. The jury empanelled by Coroner Crompton
in the evening viewed in all forty-seven bodies, and their inquiry has
been adjourned so that the work of recovery may be completed. The calamity
is without precedent in the history of the Pacific Coast – without parallel
in the loss of life involved since the memorable Pacific disaster. So many
victims has it claimed that there is scarcely a home in Victoria that has
not lost some relative or friend. Ours is a city of desolation and of sadness
and in its mourning Seattle, Tacoma, New Whatcom, Port Townsend and the
other cities of the Sound are joining , for each has contributed among
the holiday makers who formed the burden of the submerged car some of its
THE ROLL OF DEATH
List of Those Whose Lives Were Sacrificed
in the Horrible Disaster.
MRS. J.A. TROUTT, of Seattle, was identified by her husband almost as soon as her body reached the Market hall. The husband was with her on the car and escaped he scarcely knows how.
SOPHIE and ALICE SMITH of Victoria, daughters of Captain Smith, formerly of the tug Mogul, were going with their sister Ines to the parade ground, Ines Smith, being unable to find a seat in the crowded car. She stood on the rear platform and so was able to strike clear of the debris and struggling crowd and swim ashore. Her two sisters were both drowned.
JAMES THOMPSON PATTERSON, a shipper employed at the Albion Iron Works, 52 years of age, and leaving a wife and three children, was identified by his brother.
MISS GRACE ELFORD, about 17 years old, a daughter of D. Elford of this city was identified early last evening first of all by Mr. William Munsie who had known her intimately.
MRS. FRED ADAMS SR. relict of the late contractor F. Adams who lost his life in the wreck of the ill-fated Velos, was drowned with her son, Fred, the latter leaving a widow but no children.
MRS. WILLIAM HEATHERBELL, of South Road, Spring Ridge, was sitting with her husband about the centre of the car. Mr. Heatherbell had a miraculous escape, receiving few injuries. His wife was drowned.
MRS. G.H. WOODHOUSE, of Seattle, was pinioned in the shattered car and had no chance for her life. She was a bride of but four months.
MRS. S.I. BALLARD, of Providence, R.I., was spending the celebration days with friends in Victoria by whom she was identified soon after her body reached the improvised morgue.
WILLIAM VAN BOKKELIN, of Port Townsend, for some time a well known custom house officer of Puget Sound--a married man.
J.K. LEVERIDGE, grocer, of Spring Ridge. He was on his way to the military spectacle accompanied by his step-daughter, Nellie Preston, the latter of whom was taken from the water before life was extinct and resuscitated.
GABRIELLE MAROTTA, of Seattle, positively identified by acquaintances.
GUISEPPI MAURO, also of Seattle, and well known in this city.
MRS. THOMAS PHYSICK, wife of a C.P.R. boiler maker, residing at 812 Richards Street, Vancouver; leaves two children.
MISS EMILY NATHAN, of Victoria, identified by her father last evening.
MR. AND MRS. SIMON PEARSON, of North Park Street, this city; leave three children, the eldest of them a boy of 9 years.
MR. JAMES; no other particulars obtainable.
MRS. P. ELFORD, of Shawnigan Lake.
B.W. MURRAY, a son of Foreman Murray of the city waterworks.
W.J. CROWELL'S little son, 10 years old or thereabouts, whose parents reside on Spring Ridge.
MRS. PRIESTLEY, of Minneapolis, identified by papers found on the body.
--- MARATTA, an Italian harpist from Seattle, identified by Mr. R.J. Dodds of the Sound city.
MRS. D.R. PRESTON, a resident of Seattle, leaves two children; she was identified by her sister, Miss Evelyn Farrelly.
MRS. EDWARD HOOSEN, wife of Nightwatchman Hoosen, of this city and
CLARENCE HOOSEN, their son, aged about five or six years.
JAMES WILSON, five years old, the son of street inspector Wilson.
EMMA OLSEN, of 73 Frederick street, twenty years of age, has no relatives so far as known in this city or province.
MISS LESTER, no other particulars obtainable.
MISS ANN KEAST, daughter of deputy registrar Keast. Her mother was resuscitated with extreme difficulty.
MISS FLOSSIE JACKSON, 50 Quadra Street.
J.B. GORDON, manager of Bradstreet's commercial agency at Vancouver; for some time a resident of Victoria.
MR. AND MRS. E.B. CARMICHAEL, of Menzies street, for many years residents of Victoria; they leave two in family. Their daughter, with her escort, was intending to take the car with her parents, but found it too crowded, and they were forced to take the one in advance, by which they escaped.
GEORGE FARR, conductor, leaves a widow and two children.
HARRY TALBOT, the conductor in charge of No. 16 at the time of its awful plunge. He leaves a wife.
MISS SLOAN, of Seattle, was accompanying Mr. and Mrs. Trout and their party, and was drowned with the majority of the little circle of holiday makers.
--- BOSSI, storekeeper of Store street.
J.H. TYACK, a blacksmith's helper residing on Humboldt Street; his body was at first mistaken for that of his cousin Jimmie Laurie, whose brother was drowned only a couple of months ago. Laurie is safe.
TWO CHILDREN, Archie and Julia, son and daughter of G.W. Biggar of this city, who himself narrowly escaped.
--- EDMONDS, of Pembroke street.
W. ARTHUR FULLERTON, son of W.F. Fullerton, of Clarke and North Pembroke streets.
MRS. G.I. POST and her son, of 153 Fernwood road.
FRANK GRESTA, bootblack, of Yates street.
MISS MINNIE ROBERTSON, daughter of ex-Ald. W.A. Robertson, who with his son was also a passenger on No. 16 and who escaped with some bad cuts and serious bruises.
THE MISSES BOWNESS (2) . . .
THE AWFUL PLUNGE
Eye Witnesses of the Disaster Recount Their Terrible Story of Death
There appears to be a fatal connection between car No. 16 and the Point Ellice bridge, for it was with this same heavy car that the bridge sank three years ago. Yesterday it left Campbell's Corner at ten minutes to two, car No. 6 in charge of H.G. Mason and Driver Calp leaving in advance. The leading car has about two thirds the capacity of the one that was following, yet its conductor collected 87 fares before reaching the bridge. The register on No. 16 when fished out of the wreck showed 108 fares, the conductor had not completed his collections at the time of the awful plunge. In passing over the bridge, conductor Mason of No. 6 felt the structure swing more than usually, though he at the moment thought that it was the springs of his car weakening under their heavy load. He was still on the bridge, guiding his trolley rope when he heard the crash and as his car glided onto the Victoria West end of the quivering framework, saw the first of the two large spans disappear with the big theater car and heard the agonized moans and cries of its passengers as they were carried down to the water below or were struck by the breaking ironwork of the bridge. Two vehicles, one drawn by two horses and the other by one, went down with the car as did a visiting bicyclist, who as he fell was struck by a great piece of metal which shattered his skull. A third vehicle, driven by Mr. Charles Fern, was also on the bridge but the horse wheeling, as instinct warned him of the impending danger, and running back to the city reached safety with its parties, Mr. Williams and his family were driving immediately in front of this carriage and went down. To others who were approaching the bridge the accident seemed only an instant in the occurrence. The flooring of the bridge seemed to rise like the blades of a jackknife, the car to slide towards the side and then both to disappear. On the opposite side of the water Conductor Mason and his crew found themselves helpless to reach the scene of death to render aid, though the agonized cries of the dying rang in their ears. Not so the men who at the neighboring shipyard were engaged in docking the schooner Penelope, and who at once hurried to the rescue, others from the shore joining them as quickly as boats could be secured, the Misses Drake being among the first to bring the struggling victims of the calamity from the water. At a casual estimate… reached the bridge maintain that there could not have been fewer than 120 people on board. More would quite probably have been lost had not No. 20 providentially run off the switch a few minutes before.
The majority of the passengers of No. 16 appear to have
been Spring Ridge residents who had transferred to the big car at the city
corner. As the car went down those on the platforms jumped or were thrown
off, one young man named Clyde and two little boys being able to regain
safety by running along the quivering bridge. Others swam, while quite
a few who had been inside the car succeeded in getting through the windows
sustaining themselves with the aid of floating fragments of the shattered
car until picked up. One of these latter, a Vancouver gentleman named John
Armstrong, found three others struggling with him through the same window.
Finally he felt himself clear and swam for shore which he reached with
his companion, Henry Twyman of the Empress of India.
AT THE PLACE OF DEATH
Scenes and Incidents of the Disaster and of the Work of Rescue
One of the first to hurry to the rescue was Captain H.R. Foote, who happened to be looking out of the window of Captain Grant's residence on the bank. He heard the crash of the breaking bridge and saw the car precipitated into the water below. Rushing down to the boat house he took out a skiff and pulled towards the struggling mass of people who were fighting for their lives amid the wreckage. Little Nellie Preston was the first he rescued. The child had been in the car with her step-father and mother, Mr. and Mrs. Leveridge. The little one was not much injured , but how she got out of the car she did not seem to know. By this time scores of boats were on the scene, many of them from the sealing schooners moored close by. The Misses Drake, daughters of Mr. Justice Drake, deserve great praise for their heroic efforts at rescue. They saw the accident and at once put out in a skiff to help. They succeeded in taking to shore no less than seven persons. Mr. William Burnes also pulled five persons into his boat, and many other lives were saved by the swarm of boats that came to the spot. It was wonderful how coolly and energetically men and women worked. Class distinctions and all were forgotten. Delicate ladies whom one might expect to shrink from scenes of horror aided in the work of resuscitating the unfortunate victims as one by one they were brought ashore and laid on the lawns of Capt. Grant's house. It was an awful sight as one motionless form after another was brought up the steep bank and placed upon the grass. Mrs. Grant without a moment's hesitation threw open her house as a receiving hospital and the neighbors from round about brought blankets, brandy and restoratives and people eagerly offered their services. Rev. Canon Paddon who had been a passenger in the car was one of the first rescued. He had received terrible injuries about the head and was placed in bed in the Grants' house where he was made as comfortable as medical help could make him. In another room was laid James Jackson who had with his young daughter Flossie been inside the car. The father will live, but the girl was one of those whose drowned body was pulled out of the wreck too late to save her. Downstairs in the drawing-room of the Grant house poor Mrs. Bowness, who had just been rescued, thought not of herself, but of her two daughters, begging someone to tell her of their fate. Poor woman, one of her girls was at that moment lying dead outside while the body of the other was still at the bottom of the Arm. A few feet away Dr. Frank Hall and a number of ladies were trying ineffectually to bring back to life Miss Sophie Smith, daughter of Captain H. Smith, of Menzies street. Beside her, half crazed with grief and utterly unmindful of her soaking clothes, stood her sister, who had fortunately escaped unhurt. She could not believe that her sister was dead and implored in agonized words the workers not to give up their efforts. For two hours and a half everything possible was done to resuscitate Sophie Smith, but all to no purpose. One young lady at last coaxed her sister to allow her clothes to be changed and took her to her home in a hack, where the news was broken as gently as possible to the invalid mother.
All the doctors in the city hastened to the scene of the accident as
fast as possible, and did noble service in the cause of humanity. Dr. Watt
happened to be near when the accident happened. He was with a party of
ladies at the time, and while he ran to help, two of the ladies of his
party thoughtfully went into a saloon near by and procured several bottles
of brandy for use resuscitating the victims, and then they turned in to
help, and worked all the afternoon.
Half and hour after the accident the lawns of Capt. Grant's residence presented a fearful change from their generally trim appearance. Here and there groups of people were gathered round a body trying to find out if some of their dear ones were among the dead or had escaped.
The reporters as they made out lists of those identified, were besieged by weeping women and anxious men asking if this or that name was among the list of the dead. The uncertainty was something frightful. So many people had intended to go to the sham battle by the tramway that none knew but that the next body brought ashore might be one of their own family, and it was with inexpressible relief that perhaps two equally anxious members of a family would meet alive and well to find that they had both perhaps missed the fatal car owing to the crowd.
A big gang of men were speedily put to work clearing away the wreckage, and Mr. Harmes and another diver as soon as a hole could be cleared went down and brought from the death waters, one body after another, which was taken ashore. It was only, however, the people who had been rescued a few minutes after the accident who were saved. All the others perished.
It was a pitiful sight to see some poor little child who had gone out a short time before with parents to enjoy a happy afternoon, laid out still in death on the grass. There seemed to be so many little ones among the victims. One pretty little girl with golden hair lay with a peaceful look upon her face, while close by was a gray-haired old man, his hands clenched and a set face as if he had fought hard against death. On the sloping bank near the landing were a whole row of corpses, among them Mr. J. E. Gordon, Miss Nathan, young James Tyack and four children, one of them a little fellow of six or seven with his woollen gloves still on his hands and his eyes staring vacantly at the blue sky overhead.
Every now and then, an undertaker's wagon would draw up at the gate and body after body was covered up and carried away on stretchers to be placed in the vehicle for removal to the city market, that had been turned into a morgue for the occasion.
As far as possible the crowd, with the exception of those actually engaged in rescue work, were kept outside the gate by the police. A sad sight was that when Mr. Biggar recognized the bodies of his little son Archie aged 6 and his young daughter Julia aged 9. Mr. Biggar, who had himself escaped death, but had suffered severe injuries, worked hard with others to bring back the breath of life to his little ones. They were wrapped in blankets and taken into the house, but it was useless; their lives were ended and they were taken away with the other bodies.
A wonderful escape was that of a party consisting of Mr. and Mrs. G.A. Gordon of Vancouver, and Mrs. A.S. Potts. They were driving in a buggy on the bridge at the time of the accident. Mr. Potts drew up to allow the first tramcar to pass and then followed it. The tramcar behind came along and as it passed, the bridge gave way. Down went the buggy into the water with the other wreckage. Mr. Potts managed to drag his wife to the top of the submerged car and Mr. Jordan rescued his wife in the same way. None of the party knew just how it was done, as the whole thing seemed over in a minute. Then they were picked up by a boat and carried ashore. The horse was drowned and the buggy was tangled up in the submerged car. Mr. James Wilson was in another buggy with his four children. They too went down in the wreck, but all were saved with the exception of the little boy, who was crushed in the broken ironwork of the bridge and was probably almost instantly killed.
There were many sad episodes in the recognition of the dead. Mr. Arthur Keast came across the body of his daughter, Miss Ann Keast, lying on the green bank, dead. "Yes; that is my daughter," he said quietly, as sympathetic friends came around him. His great self control in this moment of horror was more pathetic than unspoken grief.
Mr. J. Trout of Seattle, engineer of the steamer Flier, who had escaped, but with a terrible gash on his temples from which the blood streamed freely, walked around in a dazed way. He could not account for his escape, but kept repeating in broken accents "My wife is down there yet," pointing to the place where the car had gone down.
James McL Muir was in the car sitting beside his friend R.S. Holmes. When the crash came they realized the danger and bade each other farewell. "I don't exactly know how it was," said Mr. Muir in relating his experience afterwards, "but the car seemed to settle down on the bottom, and as I know how to swim I opened my eyes and dimly made out the window opening. I managed to crawl out, getting a blow on the head as I did so, and then swam upwards, getting free of the wreckage and was picked up. Mr. Muir has only a bruised arm and head, and was about again as soon as he had changed his clothes. His friend, Holmes is among the victims of the drowning.
Dr. John Lang was standing on the back platform at the time of the accident and though he is badly hurt about the head and body, he escaped with his life. He was carried to his home and it is expected will recover.
Another man who was standing on the back platform was Mr. J. E. Philips. He clung on to the rear railing as the car went down and though he received a heavy blow on the head, he saved himself by his knowledge of swimming. Twice he tried to rise to the surface but finding himself beneath the wreckage dived and swam under water till he was clear. When he got his head above water he clung to a piece of timber and was on the point of fainting when Mr. Justice Drake came along in a skiff and saved him. Mr. Phillips was taken home and put to bed, and last evening said he felt sore but had as far as he knew, only some bruises on his arm and head.
The surgeons of the warships in port responded quickly to the call for medical assistance and worked energetically in the effort to save life.
John Cameron, of 7 Scoresby street, was another of those who escaped. He was on the rear platform at the time of the accident and was hit on the head in the terrible drop from the bridge. He was completely dazed by the accident and had no idea of how he was saved.
Chief Deasy and the fire brigade did good service in recovering the bodies of the victims of the disaster. Chief Deasy not only drove a number of the injured into town in his buggy, but directed his men in having ladders run from the bridge to the wreckage and in clearing away the debris to recover the bodies. Among so many instances as were shown yesterday of those eager and willing to help it is hard to particularize. It was the one bright spot in a picture of horror.
The provincial police launch was taken to the spot very shortly after the accident by Sergt. Langley and Provincial Constable McKenna and Captain Irving and Mr. James Hunter joined her. Captain Irving did good work in directing wrecking operations, and as the timbers were cut loose the steamer Sadie towed them off to give more room to work. Diver Cook and the diver of the Royal Arthur worked all the afternoon as well as Diver McHardy; Captain Heater was of great assistance in recovering bodies and so was Captain John Steel of the steamer Rainbow.
Fred Humber, son of Mr. M. Humber, was on the front of the car when it went down and received a heavy blow on the head. He managed to swim to shore where he was picked up by his father unconscious. A younger son of Mr. Humber was hanging on to the crowded back platform, and by some wonderfully lucky chance his foot slipped and he fell off just in time to save himself from following the car into the water.
Eliza Woodil, a girl of 14, was in the centre of the car when it went down. She was picked up clutching in her arms two young children. All three were saved.
F.M. Yorke, the stevedore, was loading a vessel with lumber close to the scene of the accident. He at once took his whole crew to the rescue and they did much towards saving the victims by breaking open the top of the wrecked car.
A man who escaped from death was Henry Twyman, the barkeeper on the
Empress of India, who had come over to spend the celebration here. Twyman
crawled through the window and swam ashore. Captain Irving sent the man
to his own house and furnished him with an outfit of clothes there.
The provincial police launch picked up a large quantity of clothing belonging to victims of the accident.
Owing to the sorrow that has come over the city consequent upon the dreadful accident, the Jubilee Hospital entertainment that was to have taken place last night, was indefinitely postponed.
Mr. Thomas Harman who was on board the car, was instrumental in saving Mrs. Potts, Mrs. Keast, and several others who were carried down by the broken bridge.
Any American citizens requiring assistance in view of yesterday's calamity are urged to call immediately at the Consulate.
All public entertainments have been abandoned for the present in recognition of the city's sorrow. This includes the theatrical and political meetings and the bicycle run from Rockland avenue to Malacca Point arranged for this afternoon.
Walter Englehardt was a passenger in the wrecked car but escaped with his life, though he received severe injuries to his spine.
J. Keith Wilson was on the Esquimalt end of the bridge when the structure collapsed yesterday. The electric wire struck him and knocked him from his horse, but he escaped unhurt.
James Townsley, a passenger on the rear steps, said last night, that as the car reached the bridge he heard the conductor make the remark that "if they got over the bridge they would be lucky." The conductor was standing next him and asked if he was going through. He responded if he did not go through he would swim, and the alternative proved too realistic. His head was first held firmly by timbers and in this manner he felt himself sink in the vertex. When released his heels first rose to the surface. He still maintained his reason and scrambling upon some wreckage, succeeded in keeping two ladies afloat until all were rescued. Thompson endeavored to keep a third lady afloat, but failed after a manly effort.
Following Day's Coverage