Indianapolis, IN Purdue University Football Team in Train Wreck, Oct 1903

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Sixteen Crushed to Death at Indianapolis in a Collision


Purdue University Special Hits a Switch Engine Head-On -- Seven Players, Two Assistant Coaches and a Trainer Killed Outright -- Fifty Persons Hurt -- The Game Abandoned and Team Disbanded.

Indianapolis, Ind. -- Running at the rate of thirty miles an hour, a Big Four special train of six coaches, loaded with students of Purdue University, including the football team, was wrecked just inside the city limits by coming into collision with a switch engine hauling a train of coal cars. Fifteen persons were killed outright and fifty were injured, some of them so seriously that there is no hope of their recovery.
There were 954 students and spectators on the train, and the football team, which was scheduled for a game with the Indiana University team here, was in the forward car, and four players, three substitute players, two assistant coaches and one trainer were killed outright, and five members of the team were seriously and several slightly injured. The train was a special, made up a Lafayette, and, with few exceptions, all the passengers were Purdue students.
Many of those killed and severely injured were among the best men on the team, and there will be no effort to reorganize it this year. The Indiana University team came in a few minutes after the wreck occurred and assisted in the work of rescue and in caring for the injured. President Stone, of Purdue, was on the train, but was not injured.
The trains came together with a great crash, which wrecked three of the passenger coaches, in addition to the engine and tender of the special train and two or three of the coal cars. The first coach on the special train was reduced to splinters.
The second coach was thrown down a fifteen-foot embankment into the gravel pit and the third coach was thrown from the track to the west-side and badly wrecked. The coal cars plowed their way into the engine and demolished it completely. The coal tender was tossed to the side and turned over.
A wild effort on the part of the imprisoned passengers to escape from the wrecked car followed the crash. Immediately following the wreck the students and the others turned their attention to the work of rescuing the injured, and by the time the first ambulances arrived many of the dead and suffering young men had been carried out and placed on the grass on both sides of the track.