THE RAILWAY ACCIDENT.
THE INQUEST. Featherston, Sept. 13. The inquest on the bodies of Ada Pharazynand Francis John Nicholas, who were killed through the railway accident, took place to-day. Mr. Izard watched the evidence on behalf of the Government. Dr. Spratt acted as coroner and Mr. W. H. Bunny as foreman of the jury. In the early portion of the day only the medical evidence was given, certifying to the cause of death. The jury viewed the bodies and then returned to the scene of the disaster by special train from Featherston, and on their return the inquest was adjourned to enable the the jurors to attend the funeral of Mr. O. Pharazyn’s daughter and Mr. Nicholas’ son. There wore very lai’ge numbers of sympathisers from all parts of the province. The enquiry was then resumed. Mr. Quinn, hotelkeeper, stated that ho was a passenger in the train with his wife and five children. He noticed nothing until they got about three chains from the second tunnel, when gravel was blown against the side of the carriage. Ho noticed the two first carriages leave the rails, and was then thrown down inside the carriage about fifty feet down the embankment, the carriage stopping on its side. In his opinion the wind was not the cause of the accident on this occasion, as he had frequently experienced a heavier wind. In reply to the foreman witness said that ho attributed the disaster to the carriages not being properly un,coupled. Witness was very undecided at this point, and stated that he was told by a man named Montgomery that there were two new hands on the engine, and that they had brought brandy from Featherston, and the driver and fireman were the worse for liquor. Montgomery will be subpoeaned to-morrow and examined as to this statement. This closed the proceeding until to-morrow. Featherston, Sept. 14.
The inquest on the bodies of the children who were killed by the railway accident on Saturday last was resumed yesterday, when the following verdict was returned—“ The verdict of the jury ,is that, after full consideration of the evidence brought before them, the deaths of IdaPharazy.n and Francis John Nicholas were purely accidental, and caused by the carriage being blown off the line down the embankment on the Himutaka incline; and in the opinion of the jury no blame attaches to anyone. ” The following rider was attached —“ (1) That in the opinion of the jury the Government should take immediate action, by the construction of wind sheds or other protective means to prevent as far as possible the reccurrence of similar accidents on the dangerous parts of the incline, and that direct telegraphic communication he at once established between the Summit and Kaitoke. (2) That the gravest censure be passed on the witness Quinn for the statement he made, without any corroborative evidence, that the driver and stoker were in possession of a bottle of brandy before the accident,; that they were new hands ; and that the carriages were not properly coupled; especially as the evidence shows that the driver and the stoker were perfectly sober, and, instead of being new hands, they had been engaged working these engines on this incline for at least eighteen months, and that on the occurrence of the accident the railway authorities and their employees rendered every possible assistance in their power ; and the jury are of opinion, from the evidence adduced, that the management of the line is most efficient.”
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