Hiawatha, KS Truck And Bus Collision, Dec 1931



Hiawatha, Kan., Dec. 22 - (INS) - Three persons perished and 11 others were heroically rescued from certain death in a blazing inferno caused by the head-on collision of a truck and interstate bus a mile and a half east of here early today.
The hero of the dramatic rescue was H. R. BECKMAN of North Kansas City, Mo., a passenger on the bus.
Recovering from the impact of the crash, BECKMAN fought his way to the rear of the bus as the flames from the truck's exploding gasoline tank enveloped the vehicle, kicked out a rear window and helped all but one passenger, who burned to death, to safety before crawling through the window himself.
The dead were:
WILIAM IRWIN, driver of the bus.
MR. ANDERSON, driver of the truck.
and an unidentified bus passenger.
Of those injured four are in such a serious condition that they may not survive.
The bus, operated by the Union Pacific Railroad and the Interstate Bus Company, was en-route from Omaha to Kansas City when the crash occurred.
The truck, owned by the Watson Brothers Transfer Company of Nebraska City, Iowa, was of the trailer type.
The driver of the bus, WILLIAM IRWIN, was killed instantly by the impact of the crash. The truck driver, who was identified only by the name of ANDERSON, was burned to death. The passenger who perished in the flames was unidentified.
The crash was unavoidable, according to BECKMAN, who occupied a front seat in the bus and saw the oncoming truck strike a smaller truck in front of it, causing the driver of the larger vehicle to lose control, and crashed into the bus.

Daily Journal-Gazette Mattoon Illinois 1931-12-22