Atlantic City, NJ Electric Train Wreck, Oct 1906 - Survivor Stories


One Woman Rescued Her Husband Because She Could Swim


Two Others Left the Train at the Last Station---Didn't Know Why---Bandmaster's Escape.

ATLANTIC CITY, Oct. 28.---Stories of the terrible experiences are told by those who escaped death in the submerged coaches. A Mrs. McDonald of Philadelphia, who was in the third car, said:

"When the cars went overboard I was looking out of the window. I saw we were all doomed and my first thought was of my husband. The cars plunged over and the water began gurgling as it rushed in at the windows and doorways. Fortunately, I am a good swimmer. The Lord only knows how I broke my way through a window, but I did it.

"As I rose to the surface I thought of my husband and I dived down in the faint hope that I could reach him. I went down and down, and finally grabbed hold of a body. I came up with it, but discovered that I had rescued some other man. He got safely ashore. I dived twice more and each time I brought up a strange man. The fourth time I went down I reached my husband and succeeded in landing him safely."

Mrs. McDonald is now at the home of Mr. and Mrs. T. V. Townsend on Pennsylvania Avenue, in this city, and her husband is with her. Both are bruised and suffering from shock.

Saved Many In Last Car.

Harry C. Deemer of 2,570 Reese Street, Philadelphia, says it is wonderful that even the few who did escape from the last car were able to do so. Many of them owe their lives to Deemer. He and his wife are in the Atlantic City Hospital. The husband is suffering from bruises and cuts from jagged glass received in effecting his own escape and in breaking a way out for others. Mrs. Deemer has a fractured skull and a severely injured spine. She is not likely to recover.

Wrapped in bandages, Deemer to-night told the story of how he and his wife were saved. He said:

"We were riding in the last car, and every window was closed. Suddenly we felf the jar when the train jumped the track. I looked from the window and saw the first car as it splashed into the water. The second car followed, and then the front of our car plunged from the bridge and came to an abrupt stop. Most of the passengers were thrown into a heap in the lower end of the car, which was submerged. It immediately filled with water.

"I bobbed to the surface and all at once thought of the windows. I struck at one of the panes of glass with my fist, but the first blow I gave it failed to break it, and then I used my elbow and jabbed a hole in the pane. The hole was not very big but I managed to squeeze through. When I had got a good breath of air I turned to look for my wife. I then crawled along the car, which was bleeding profusely by this time.

"While doing this I heard my wife's voice crying out to me, 'Save me, Harry! Save me, dear!" I hurried along until I found her. Then I reached through one of the broken windows and grabbed her arm. She cried out with pain. 'Don't, Harry! It's broken,' but I held on to it, and with the aid of another man, who had come to my rescue, we managed to pull my wife through the car window to freedom."