Wreck of the Penn Flyer killed four in 1911

from the archives of The News-Sentinel

It was early evening, Aug. 13, 1911. A two-engine Pennsylvania Railroad passenger train - nicknamed ``the Flyer'' - was chugging into Fort Wayne from the west. The train was an hour late and was moving unusually fast to make up the time.

Suddenly, around 6:45 p.m., the second engine jumped through a switch, dragging the train into the path of a westbound freight train. Eyewitness accounts of the crash told of how all three engines flew high into the air, crumpling in a heap when they hit the ground, the burst boilers spewing steam.

When the smoke from the wreckage near Swinney Park had cleared, four railroad crewmen were dead and a fifth badly mangled. Engineer Patrick Malone, missing an arm and a leg, crawled from the wreckage and was found hours later. For a while, it was feared he would be the fifth fatality.

Thirty-five passengers on the Flyer were injured, including 20 in the smoking car, which was located toward the front of the Flyer. In all, seven passenger cars left the tracks and rolled down a nearby embankment.

So tangled was the wreckage that two of the dead rail crewmen could not be found for nearly three days, and then only with the help of bloodhounds.

As in many tragedies, panic apparently struck some Flyer riders. Newspaper accounts the next day quoted a Los Angeles man as saying several male passengers held back women so they could be the first to escape through open windows.

--March 27, 1982

unction(w,d,s,l,i){w[l]=w[l]||[];w[l].push({'gtm.start': new Date().getTime(),event:'gtm.js'});var f=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0], j=d.createElement(s),dl=l!='dataLayer'?'&l='+l:'';j.async=true;j.src= ''+i+dl;f.parentNode.insertBefore(j,f); })(window,document,'script','dataLayer','GTM-KVWHXLX'); Contact Us |