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EXPRESS CALAMITY. . .

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EXPRESS CALAMITY. Fearful Scenes in Belgium 40 KILLED; MANY INJURED. Brussels. Thursday.—A fearful catastrophe Unsurpassed in the whole history of Belgian railways so far as regards the number of vic- tims, took, place on the Antwerp-Brussels line *t Contich this morning, when an express train from Antwerp to Brussels dashed at almost full speed into the rear of another pas- Beng(-r train standing in a siding at Contich, a atatinn about six miles from Antwerp, to allow express to pass, but apparently through an oversight the points were not readjusted, with he result that the express, instead of keeping to the main line, turned iuto the siding and hashed with terrific force into the rear of the other train. Several otÏiciaJs and other persons saw the bnc ming express swerve into the siding and tvaveri flags and handkerchefs in warning, and I he express driver promptly applied his brakes, hut it was too late. Less than 10 seconds later officiate and others on the platform at Contich Station were horror-stricken to see the express run with an awful and deafening crash, which could be beard a mile away. into the back of the stand- tn train. For some minutes the effects of the collision Were hidden from view by thick clouds of dust and mingled with the noise of breaking wood- work rose the anguished cries of injured and terrified passengers. When the clouds of dust began to settle it was seen that the three rear f-arriages of the standing train had been trnashcd to atoms, and that sevpral of the carriages of the express train liad also been badly wrecked. Scene of Horror. Scores of unhappy passenger;. lay writhing and strugling amidst the wreckage, the horror ot the situation being emphasised by the fact that the wrecked carriages burst into flames. A large number were killed outright, many of the victims being beheaded, whilst others had legs or arms torn off. A body of soldiers from Contich Barracks quickly arrived on the Scene to assist in the work of rescuing the injured, and several doctors and nurses were wmmoned to dress their wounds. Amongst the passengers beheaded were five Soldiers who were proceeding from Contich to camp at Beverlow. and the men from the barracks were so overcome whilst carrying the mutilated bodies of their comrades onstretchers back to the barracks that they wept. The rescue party had their nerves severely tried by many gruesome sights- A number of the bodies of those killed were so fearfully Wangled as to be unrecognisable. Arms and gswere picked up yards away from the bodies to which they belonged, and one of the Tescuers found a hand grasping an ear, which the owner of the hand had evidently torn from ■he face of another passenger. Several little pilgrim girls dressed in white were found lying dead covered with blood and blackened with coal oust" Hour after hour the harrowing work of recovering the mutilated bodies of the dead and rescuing the injured, pinned beneath the wreckage, went on. Terrifying Thunderstorm. During the afternoon a fearful thunder- Jtorm broke over the scene and the painful work was continued in a downpour of rain to the accompaniment of vivid flashes of light- ning and loud peals of thunder. It was reported this afternoon that the sig- nalman said to be responsible for the manage- ment of the points had committed suicide, but that report proved to be unfounded. The man, However, has disappeared. At 4 o'clock 35 bodies had been recovered, and the number of those injured is estimated at over 100. At that hour there were still several dead bodies waiting to be extricated. Several injured died in Contich Hospital during the afternoon, the number of deaths tip to 6 o'clock this evening being 41.—Central STaws. There are only two doctors in the whole tommune of Contich, but others were. soon found among the passengers of trains arriving from Brussels and Antwerp* and were pressed into the work of mercy. Besides these, and within half an hour of the accident happening, military doctors and ambulances were on the spot fromAntwerp andMalines with a complete staff of hospital nurses. The express was otilised to take the injured to Antwerp, the two guards' vans being transferred into minia- ture hospital wards. Passenger's Narrative. One of ,the passengers in the train which was run into gives the following account of her ex- PtT-!euC^s :—" Brussels by the 8.2 train, which gives acpnneetion at Contich for passen- from Brussels for Lierre and Turnhout. i ne tram was very full, the third class carriages eing packed. rChe porters were just starting leaving^Contth* whd°0rS.K pri°r Tl -h -rt r ^hen there was a fearful "assengers were thrown through open quat's on to the platform, and many, terror-stgtcken, rushed off into the fields. J. fortunately, was in one of the for- ward carriages. Bushing to the back of the train a terrible scene met my eyes, while shrieks of pain filled the air. In one compart- ment, lying amid several companions terribly injured, was a man whose chest had been torn completely open, the heart and lungs being exposed. Others had had their heads crushed —in fact, the whole spectacle was one of such horror that I had to turn away and have not recovered from its effects yet."—Press Associa- tion Special Telegram. The Casualty List Contich, Thursday, 8.30 p.m.—The latest list of killed and injured shows that 38 persons were killed and 79 injured. Three of the injured died at the station. Advices from Antwerp state that orders have been given for the arrest of a signalman employed here.— Reuter.

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