Corea, WA Train Hit by Avalanche, Jan 1916


Fifteen Hurt When Two Cars of Limited Are Carried Down Mountainside.


Diner Catches Fire After Leaving Tracks and Is Destroyed---Uninjured Go On.


Disaster in 1906 Resulted in Heavier Loss of Life and Railroad Spent Millions to Prevent Recurrence.

SEATTLE, Wash., Jan. 22.---Six persons are believed to have been killed and fifteen injured early today, when the westbound Great Northern Cascade Limited train was struck by an avalanche near Corea Station, on the west slope of the Cascade Mountains. Two cars were carried down the mountainside. Early tonight the bodies of the following had been recovered:

BERT KIRMAN, Sheridan, Wyo.

W. F. CARTER, East Vancouver, B. C.

EDWARD BATTERMAN and baby, Wenstchee, Wash.

A ten-year-old son of Mr. Batterman is missing and it is feared he is dead. Another passenger name not known, has not been found. None of the injured were seriously hurt, except Ernest Smith of Spokane, a small boy.

The train had been held at Corea, which is about 100 miles east of Seattle, by a small snowslide. When the track was about cleared, an avalanche broke from the mountain and caught the dining car and day coach, carrying them down the mountainside like chips. The diner caught fire and was destroyed.

The avalanche struck the train in the middle. The diner and day coach were carried away and a sleeper behind them was toppled over on its side and swung partly over the bank, but not taken down.

There is a long horseshoe curve at Corea, and the two cars that were struck, slid down toward the track eighty feet below. The diner stopped half way to the track, where it caught fire, and the day coach continued down to the lower track.

All of the injured were taken to Scenic, a few miles below Corea. The others proceeded on their journey to Seattle.

Peter Saver of Leavenworth, Wash., was in the smoking car when the avalanche struck the train. The car began to rise, he said, and all the passengers rushed to the front to get out. He looked out of the window and saw the chair car and dining car tumble over. The dining car turned over once, slid many feet, and then burst into flames, he said:

Miss Fern Murdock, a school teacher of Cashmere, Wash., who as in the end of the chair car, was thrown down the mountainside fifty feet into snow up to her neck.

Mrs. Edward Batterman of Wenatchee, with her husband and three children, was on her way to Oregon to attend the funeral of her mother. She was warming a bottle of milk for her 8 month-old baby when the slide hit the car. She was pinned down fast by debris and it was forty minutes before an opening was cut into the car and she was extricated. Her husband and baby were found dead. Her 10-year-old son is missing. The third child escaped unhurt.

Johnson Marbre of Toledo, Ohio, was among the passengers who escaped uninjured.

Several passengers in the sleeping car were slightly hurt when the front end of the car was thrown around and hung suspended over the canyon. Another snow slide east of Corea today tore out several hundred feet of snowsheds.

Corea is the second station down the west slope from the Cascade Tunnel, and, Great Northern officials said, is almost the exact spot where a train was swept from the tracks, Feb. 28, 1910. At that time two Great Northern passenger trains, which had been detained two weeks by snowslides, were struck by an avalanche at night and carried several hundred feet into a gulch. Nearly all on board the trains perished. The bodies were not recovered for several weeks.

After this accident the railroad began constructing concrete snowsheds at a cost of millions of dollars. The railroad engineers believed they had protected all the most dangerous places.

The New York Times, New York, NY 23 Jan 1916