Waseca, MN Tornado Blows Train Down Embankment, Aug 1902



Waseca, Minn., Aug. 30. -- Four persons were killed, three fatally injured, and more than a score of others hurt this evening in the wreck of a train which had been hurled down an embankment by a tornado.
A west-bound train on the Chicago and Northwestern Railway, consisting of an engine, baggage coach, and two crowded passenger cars, while running at the rate of thirty-five miles an hour, was struck by the tornado two miles from Meridan. The passenger and baggage cars were hurled eighteen feet down the embankment.
A brakeman was lighting the car lamps when the crash came, and the wreckage was ignited by the oil.
The known dead are:
DELMAR PETERSON, aged five years, Waseca, Minn.
ANNA J. RICHARDSON, Albert Lee, Minn.
The fatally injured are:
MISS EVA RICHARDSON, New Ulm, Minn.; hurt internally.
A. C. McCONNELL, Brookings, South Dakota; hurt internally.
Unidentified Woman, crushed.
Other casualties were as follows:
T. N. KNAVOLD, Albert Lea, State Senator and candidate for Congress, four ribs broken.
FRANK MADDEN, news agent, Waseca; head cut.
The train was just running into the town from the south when the storm was seen approaching. Owattonna is not a regular stop for the train, but the engineer, seeing the cyclone sweeping toward the train, applied the air brake and slowed down. The cyclone struck the train with full force. The coaches swayed and rocked. Telegraph poles crashed across the track in front of it.
The full force of the wind caught the three rear coaches, which were filled with passengers, mostly from way points along the line in the southern part of the State. The three cars were twisted and hurled from the track, being smashed in the ditch.
Inside the wrecked cars the passengers struggled to escape through windows and doors. The cyclone passed in a minute after the cars toppled over. The engine and express car had remained on the tracks. The trainmen and the passengers who had recovered from their panic set to work to rescue the injured still imprisoned. When they were all taken out four were found to be dead.
A train was hastily made up, and the injured and bodies of the dead were taken to Waseca, where physicians attended to the seriously injured. The damage by the cyclone in that city was great, and confined to a narrow path.

The New York Times New York 1902-08-31

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