Wednesday, September 5, 2012

1872 - WONDERFUL ESCAPE FROM DEATH.

POUGHKEEPSIE, N. Y., June 28, 1872. One of the most wonderful escapes from death ever recorded in the history of railroads occurred near the ill-fated New Hamburg drawbridge, on the Hudson River Railroad, at twenty minutes past ten o'clock last night. Just before that hour James Carter, who works for Mr. Faulkner in the brick yards near New Hamburg, was walking up the track toward that station, and about a mile south of it. Upon his back he carried an empty trunk. Looking ahead he suddenly discovered a train coming south on the same track on which he was walking north. It was close upon him, and he had to hurry to get out of the way. In doing so, and not thinking of any other danger, he jumped aside to the east track, just as the second Pacific express came along bound north. The latter train was five or ten minutes behind time and was running like lightning. The locomotive was the same one which ran into the draw on the memorable 6th of February. The engineer saw the man, and whistled for brakes and shut off steam at the same time, but without success. The engine struck Carter with full force and hurled him and his trunk at least twenty feet into the air and just a trifle ahead of the locomotive, so that when he alighted he fell upon the pilot and the trunk fell upon the platform under the headlight, knocking off the brass signal light. The fireman of the engine crawled out of the window of the cab, and, hurrying along the railing to the front end of the locomotive, found the trunk as stated, and, looking over it and down upon the pilot discovered the man jolting along on the iron bars, head downwards, near the track, but not touching it, and with feet hanging over the heavy beam to which the pilot is attached. His coat had caught in the draw bar, and he was held as securely as if in a vise. To make things doubly sure the fireman seized him and held on with a death grip till the train stopped at New Hamburg station, and the fireman and engineer removed him. He was entirely unconscious, and when the express left the engineer and fireman supposed he was dying. The station folks, as soon as the train departed, hurried to Dr. Downing's residence, a long distance off, who did not arrive till two A. M. Upon examining the body not a bone was found broken nor were any cuts visible. Upon the mustache were spots of blood, but they must have come from the nose, as no abrasions of the skin were found anywhere. As the examination was proceeding Carter suddenly returned to consciousness, and with a half idiotic stare wanted to know how far he was from Hughsonville, his destination. He could not remember anything about being struck by the train, and complained of bruises and pains in his left leg, but no hurts were found there. He was conveyed to the place he wished to go to, Dr. Downing deeming him entirely out of danger. This morning his condition was much improved, but he is very sore. It was certainly a remarkable affair, and the details cannot be exaggerated. All the surroundings were of a fearful character. His clothes were torn in many places, and his hat and one shoe were found by the side of the signal light south of the drawbridge.

New York Herald, New York, NY
June 29, 1872

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