Omaha, NE Amusement Park Accident, July 1930
ROLLER COASTER TRAIN IN OMAHA LEAVES TRESTLE.
HEAVILY LOADED CARS OVERTURN AND CRUSH PASSENGERS, FOUR OF WHOM ARE DEAD AND THREE OTHERS MOMENTARILY EXPECTED TO EXPIRE -- SIXTEEN OTHERS INJURED IN ACCIDENT WHICH THROWS THOUSANDS INTO PANIC AT KRUG PARK.
Omaha, July 25 -- (AP) -- Crushed and battered when four cars of a heavy roller coaster train toppled over the edge of a 35 foot incline at Krug park here last night, pinning them beneath, four persons are dead and nineteen injured, three being in a critical condition.
Fourth to die was MRS. GLADYS LUNDGREN, 29, of Des Moines, Ia., who was spending her vacation here with friends. She succumbed today in a local hospital.
Acting Coroner Steinwender, Building Commissioner Edgecomb and City Commissioner Hopkins, went over the ruins of the coaster at the park this morning in their investigation.
List of Dead.
The dead are:
C. H. STOUT, 34, salesman, who died soon after being taken to a hospital.
RUTH FARRELL, 15, who was crushed by a falling car and died enroute to a hospital.
TONY POLITIKA, 22, who died early today at a hospital where he had been taken, suffering from a crushed chest, possible spinal fracture and internal injuries.
MRS. GLADYS LUNDGREN, 29, Des Moines who was the companion of STOUT on the ride, and suffered a brain injury, fractured rib and possible punctured lung.
The Badly Injured.
Those still reported critically injured were:
MARY POLITIKA, 16, sister of TONY, scalped, possible skull fracture, may lose eye.
HELEN CZAJA, 27, skull fracture, internal injuries.
WILLIAM BUTKUS, severe scalp wound, concussion of the brain.
Of the remaining injured all were reported improving today and out of danger.
The accident was a tragic ending to a day of merriment for the STOUT and LUNDGREN families. The LUNDGRENS had arrived from Des Moines yesterday for a vacation visit with the STOUTS. They had gone to the park for an outing, but when someone suggested a swimming party, MRS. LUNDGREN declined to join them because she had a cold. She chose to ride the coaster and STOUT agreed to accompany her.
ANTIS UZDAWINIS, who was riding in the third car, said that the cog chain pulled their car over the edge of the rails and over the track edge.
"There was no time to jump and we could do nothing but scream and tug at the safety belts that held us firmly in our seats," ANTIS said from his hospital bed.
ANDREW BAZIS, also riding in the third car, repeated the words of UZDAWINIS and declared that the cog chain continued to pull the train onward after the first car had plunged down.
Within a few seconds after the crash the crowd was surging madly about the scene of the wreck wildly seeking relatives and friends. The park was packed and all available police were rushed there to battle the crowd. At times the surging throng hindered the rescue crews greatly in reaching the injured and in transporting them to cars in which they were rushed to hospitals.
The driveway leading to the front of the coaster station was so packed that police were forced to tear down sections of the fence surrounding the park in order to get ambulances and other cars through to transport the injured away.
Preliminary investigation by park, city and insurance company officials, begun today, indicated that the tragedy was caused by a faulty brake shoe on one of the cars. City officials today held the theory that the shoe slipped around and caught beneath the rear wheels on one of the cars, after the nut and bolt holding it in place had come loose. The car was thrown off the track, tore through a flimsy guard rail and poised momentarily on the brink. Then the first car slipped over the edge, plunging downward and pulling the other three cars to the lower level track beneath. Three of the cars overturned, pinning most of the occupants beneath them.
City Commissioner Hopkins, head of the city building department, announced today that he will introduce an ordinance which would ban the operation of roller coasters within the city limits.
City Commissioner Roy Towl, who is an engineer, today critizied the structure as being old. He said that the wood in it is rotten in several places and that much of it is more than 10 years old.
An inquest is to be held here tomorrow to determine if there is any criminal responsibility in the case.
The Lincoln Star Nebraska 1930-07-25