Bagley, UT Train Wreck, Dec 1944
Yoeman First Class FREDERICK W. BOX, of Elmira, N. Y., riding in the coach directly ahead of the diner, said "misery and suffering in one car was heart-rending."
"The car was virtually pulverized, seats and bodies crushed together. Bodies of the dead hung from the broken winddw[sic]"
CLARENCE HEBERER of Alameda, Calif., head steward in the dining car, said he and two fellow workers left the diner only minutes before the impact to go to another car.
"Providence must have been with me," he said.
HEBERER and student steward OTIS M. TINDALL, also of Alameda, praised work of army and navy men attached to two hospital ward cars which were in the passenger train and were undamaged. The military aid men did a "bang-up" job, HEBERER said.
Relief Trains Outfitted
When news of the wreck reached Ogden, relief trains with physicians and nurses were outfitted and sent to the scene. Meanwhile in Ogden the Red Cross disaster service was mobilized, nurses' aides summoned to report to the hospitals and trucks and other transport facilities dispatched to the station to receive the dead and the injured.
From the army and navy installations came officers and men and numerous ambulances.
It happened that attached to the first section of the limited train were two hospital cars with staffs and equipment and supplies. These cars were undamaged in the wreck. So these cars were filled with the injured, the undamaged part of the first train was unhooked from the damaged section and the undamaged train was started on its westward journey.
Hence, far fewer injured were brought to Ogden than was expected.
The dead, instead, arrived in greater numbers than the injured.
There followed then the dismal task of identifying the dead so that correct answers could be given to the numerous calls coming from all parts of the nation for information about loved ones known to be on the train.
Dead lay unidentified in Ogden mortuaries today.
Names of some military personnel killed in the collision were withheld pending notification of next of kin.
Greatest carnage occurred in the last car of the passenger section. A combination steel and wood day-coach three cars from the end was turned into a shambles of twisted steel, splintered wood and torn bodies.
It was in the day-coach that the cruelest tragedy occurred. The lives of a family of four, and two in-laws - returning to their Nevada homes after a gala Christmas vacation in Ogden - were snuffed out. These dead were reported as MRS. AND MRS. LeROY PORTER of Sparks, Nev., their two daughters, PEGGY, 14, and MARY, 8; and JACK and DELPHA FRANCIS, brother and sister-in-law of MRS. PORTER. MR. AND MRS. FRANCIS were from Carlin, Nev.
The engine and 10 of the passenger train's 18 cars were undamaged, and proceeded west to complete its Chicago -San Francisco run as soon as the injured were treated and placed aboard.
Continued on page 3