Wilcox, AZ Flash Flood Disaster, Aug 1935



Wilcox, Ariz., Aug. 29 (AP) - Four persons perished and three others were injured when a water wall raced down a mountainside and struck a big transcontinental motor bus near here last night.
The huge vehicle, carrying 27 passengers and two employees, was picked up and tossed about like a cork when the six-foot swell of flood waters struck it.
The bus lodged against a telephone pole 60 feet away.
Rescuers smashed the windows and pulled some passengers to the roof. There the trapped group sand, prayed and shouted as they watched the pole anxiously to see whether it would hold the bus until the surging flood receded.
The dead:
JOE N. SABLIN, 65, Chicago.
MARY DOSH, 28, and REYON DOSH, 11, sisters, of Tucson, Ariz.
JOHN J. REAL, of Tulsa.
None of the three injured persons received serious hurts. The were MRS. LOUIS KISSELL, of Dallas, Texas, who had a broken rib; NATHAN GOLD, address unknown, and MRS. PEARL SEABACK, of Oklahoma City.
The bus, bound from El Paso to Tucson for the Golden Eagle Line, was parked on high ground, near a railroad underpass, awaiting the abatement of the flood waters, which were racing down from the Dragoon Mountains.

Roar Only Warning.
A deafening roar was the only warning they had, passengers said.
Suddenly, a six-foot wall of water appeared, hitting the bus a heavy blow.
MRS. KISSELL said the passengers were sitting quietly in their seats, and that Lee Gilmore, of El Paso, the driver, had stepped outside to observe the situation.
"Suddenly, we felt the bus floating. It veered around like a boat," MRS. KISSELL said, "and water began pouring in."

Calm For A Moment.
"Someone yelled for us to stand on the seats until the windows could be broken. Everyone seemed very calm, for a moment, and then it became a madhouse."
Gilmore said he and another man began smashing windows, and pulling passengers on the roof.
He said SABLIN apparently was drowned. The Chicagoan's body then was washed nearly three miles from the bus, where it was found later.
The woman and the little girl, her sister, drowned inside the cabin. The body of REAL also was found inside the bus. Gilmore said passengers told him he had escaped outside, but had crawled back into the vehicle.
A coroner's jury returned a verdict that the tragedy was an "unavoidable accident," and absolved the driver of blame.

Lubbock Morning Avalanche Texas 1935-08-30