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AUCKLAND, October 2. A lamentable railway accident occurred last night at the Custom street crossing. The 10.20 train to Oaehunga was leaving the station when the Ponaonby bns,;belong*. to the Tramway Company, driven byWilliam Ness, endeavored to cross the line. By some it is said that the vehicle was forced on to the line by pressure from be* hind. At all events, the driver does not appear to have either heard the whistle of the approaching train or to have observed the traiu, aud the engine struck the fore part of the bits, throwing it almost parallel with the rails, cutting into one of the forewheels, and throwing those on the box-seats just in front of the train. The force of the impact caused the other horses to swerve away from the line, and that caused some of the occupants of the boxseats to fall upon the railway engine. Assistance was at once procured, and the injured persons were conveyed to the hospital, where it was ascertained that their names were Thompson Leys (son of the editor of the ‘ Star’), William Ness (driver), Ohas. A. East, J, E. Perkin; Bal ■ Holmden, J, Osborne, and Bechre. Dra Baldwin, dialloner, Purohas, Girdler, Curtis, and Mar. sack were speedily in attendance. As regards young Leys, who was fourteen years old, it was seen from the out* sot that his case was hopeless. His injuries a fracture of the skull and a deep scalp wound—had mercifully rendered him unconscious, and he died shortly after admis* sioh to the'hospital. William Ness, the driver, who had left the hospital but a few. months ago, was found to have a very bad fracture of the skull, and he died at 3 a.m. The lad Charles A. Kast had his hand cut off and his legs so severely injured that it was found necessary to amputate both legs and one arm, and he died a few hours afterwards. J. E. Perkin had sustained severe wounds in the scalp, but he was able to walk to the ward with the assistance of the nurse. The lad Holmden, one of the Grammar School boys, it was found necessary to detain, he having a wound on the head and his leg being cut to the bone. The two last-named cases are not, however, regarded as hopeless. Bechre, who is an expressman, was only slightly injured, and was taken home in a cab. Osborne, who was a bnsdriver, was also in the bus, but was not seriously hurt. The driver of the train, Howardson, interviewed after his return from Onehunga, stated that when the signal was given for the train to start the line as far as could be seen ahead was perfectly clear, and no vehicle appeared to be approaching the rails. At the crossing the whistle was blown. The train was steaming out at the rate of about four or five miles an hour when the collision tock place. Neither he nor the fireman saw anything of the omnibus until the engine was quite close, >

The fireman (George Hill) corroborated the statements made by the engineer, and said that everything appeared to be all clear until the bus suddenly shot across the line and the collision occurred.

One of the passengers by the bus says: “I was sitting on the left of the driver. On my left was the boy who was horribly mutilated. The bus was not full when we started. Everyone in it seemed to be in a merry mood. I overheard one man remark: “ We hod better look out, for there are no lights on the railway train." We were approaching the railway crossing when I heard voices calling out for the train, but the driver seemed, to hear them. I was not on the look-out for any danger. The first thing I knew was that the engine was crashing into the front wheels of the bus. The collision was very sudden. ..The engine carried the bus a distance of three or more feet, and seemed to be pushing right through it. I could feel the hot steam. As the bus turned over on its side I was pitched over the dashboard. I reached out and pushed myself away from the horses. I think that action saved my life, for 1 reeled oyer to the left of- the train and rolled on to the grass."

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Bibliographic details

OMNIBUS AND ENGINE IN COLLISION., Issue 10435, 2 October 1897

Word Count

OMNIBUS AND ENGINE IN COLLISION. Issue 10435, 2 October 1897

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