Blair, MT Trains Collide, Nov 1901





Special to The Globe.
Great Falls, Mont., Nov. 18. -- Yesterday morning a wreck occurred on the Great Northern near Blair 375 miles east of this city, which resulted in the death of ten men and the serious wounding of twenty-eight others. The wreck occurred between a work train and an extra freight and it was on the work train that the killed and injured were. The work train had on board forty-one Japanese and was proceeding west. It expected to meet the freight at Culbertson. There is a sharp curve where the trains met and the trains were running about twenty-five miles per hour. The blame is supposed to rest with the freight, which had orders to protect the work train.
The force of the wreck was so great as to throw the freight cars on top of the work train, which was piled high in a mass of wreckage. Flames immediately added their terror to the work of the wreck. The men able to do so immediately started the work of rescue, the dying groans and the pleading of the men under the wreckage spurring on the workers. At the time of the accident the Japs were at breakfast and in an instant the car was smashed to kindling wood and the dead and dying men were buried in a heap of wreckage. Of the entire number on the car but three escaped death or injury.
After an hour's work all were accounted for and there were ten dead bodies alongside the track and several other men so badly injured that it is likely they will die. It was impossible to check the work of the flames and soon seven of the work cars and three freight cars were in ashes.
It was some time before word of the wreck reached the outer world, and it was necessary to send a man to Culbertson, six miles distant, on foot, and he could not be spared until all possible was done to save those in the wreck. Word was sent to Glasgow for a relief train and doctors and as soon as it reached there the work of dressing the wounds began. Nineteen of the injured were brought to the hospital here, arriving this afternoon and the other nine were left at Havre. Of those who came here all except three will probably recover. Those at Havre are not so seriously injured.
H. Mastoni, foreman of the Japanese, who was one of the three who escaped injury, said tonight that he had no idea who was to blame. "We were all seated at breakfast when the crash came. When I looked up after being thrown clear from the wreck I found that the dining car was in splinters. I could see several parts of men sticking out from beneath the pile and we at once began the work of helping them out. I think that most of the men were killed outright. Most of them were cut up horribly. Some were torn apart.
Arms and legs were lying about in all directions. There was one head which was crushed and it did not look like a head at all. Some of the men who were not killed were burned badly. We took them from the flames just as fast as we could, but many were pinned by heavy timber and with the limited force we could work but slowly. The cook stove was responsible for the fire. I understand from some of the train men that the orders were to protect the work train. None of the white men were injured. Two of them had blood upono their faces, but they were able to help out the men under the wreck."

St. Paul Globe Minnesota 1901-11-19