1905 Train Wreck - Boy Tramp Saves Life

Bonners Ferry - June 4th 1905

Engineer Drowned


Passenger Train Meets Obstruction Near Bonners Ferry, Idaho—A Boy Tramp Saves Life of Fireman— Postal Clerk Lang Seriously Injured- Engineer Brokaw Drowned.

Bonners Ferry, Idaho, June 4.—The eastbound Great Northern passenger train was struck by a rock slide eight miles east of here Saturday afternoon and the engine plunged into the Kootenai river. Engineer Peter Brokaw of Spokane was drowned. He swam down the river for a quarter of a mile, but no one could rescue him. Fireman A. G. Baumister was hurt and Mall Clerk Philip Lang was so badly injured he may die. John Ross, a 15 year old boy, who was beating his way on the tank of the engine, saved the fireman’s life. The fireman’s clothes were pinned under the engine, and the boy pulled him free with the aid of a shovel and then assisted him to shore. The wreck was caused by rocks sliding down and shoving the engine into the river. The engine was completely submerged in about 30 feet of water, and the mail and two baggage cars went off the track and part way down the bank. Fireman Baumister says he noticed rocks coming down and shouted to Engineer Brokaw, who applied the emergency brakes, but the rocks were too close and hit the tender, throwing the engine into the river.

Engineer Brokaw was washed out of his cab and tried to swim ashore, but, the current being very strong and no ropes or logs being available, he sank in sight of about 300 passengers on the train. It is possible that the engineer’s body may never be found, as the Kootenai at this time of the year is very deep and swift and full of undercurrents. No passengers on the wrecked train were injured. The train crew consisted of Conductor A. E. Logan, Engineer P. Brokaw, Fireman A. G. Baumister, Mail Clerk Phil Lang.


Clipped from the Camas Prairie Chronicle., (Cottonwood, Idaho) June 09, 1905

<< Go back to the previous page