Desjardins Canal Disaster

The remains of the bridge and the cars

A vast concourse of people gathered round the scene of the disaster yesterday. All day men were engaged breaking into pieces the first passenger car, which had been nearly submerged. It was found impossible to raise it bodily. The locomotive and tender are still under water. The second passenger car was broken up, and carried away the first evening of the disaster. The bridge has been allowed to remain precisely as it was broken; and will, we apprehend, be allowed to continue so until after the inquest, and after thorough inspection by competent engineers. It was a matter of utter astonishment to every one, how any person could have escaped, after such a fearful fall.

The walls on either sides are of very solid masonry; the adjacent banks are perhaps a hundred feet higher than the railroad. The suspension bridge is thrown over immediately on the right, and is still higher. Then, about sixty feet below the railroad is a narrow deep channel, which looks like a sort of chasm between two high hills. Into this abyss was hurled the ill-fated train. It was just wide enough to let the cars down without touching anything to break their fall. They literally leaped sixty feet into ice and water, one passenger car following the locomotive and completely overturning, and becoming almost submerged; and the other lighting endways upon this. Great as has been the loss of life, considering the number of passengers; yet, looking at the place, it is absolutely wonderful how any one escaped.

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