13 DIE AT LEVEL CROSSING
TRAIN SLICES CHURCH
BUS IN TWO
The church bus after the smash.
THIRTEEN people were killed and nearly 20 injured last night at Boronia level
An electric train sliced through a bus carrying more than 30 members of a Church of Christ social group.
People two miles away heard
the roar and saw the flash as the train hit at 8.45 p.m.
Wreckage of the severed bus was dragged 75 yards along the tracks.
Boronia people drove many of the dead and injured to Ferntree Gully Hospital while ambulances were on their half-hour trip from Melbourne.
An hour after the crash, the scene was like a battlefield.
Ambulance men and scores of volunteers were scrabbling in the wreckage to reach
Dead and injured people already dragged clear were lying on beds improvised from seat cushions out of the train.
Groups of men were straining to lift cars and ambulances which bogged down in the mud as they tried to get the injured away.
Dr. John Merry, the only doctor in Boronia at the time, treated the seri- ously injured on the spot.
Many Boronia women who had been nurses helped him.
They set up casualty clearing stations and made splints for fractures from a fence.
Late last night police had not been able to identify all of the dead or injured, but all are believed to have been in the bus.
They were returning to Melbourne from Boro- nia.
The train driver and his passengers escaped.
Six ambulances from Mel- bourne and two from Fern- tree Gully took the injured to hospital.
Eight of the less seriously injured were taken to Fern- tree Gully Bush Nursing Hos- pital and given first-aid treatment.
The injured were taken to Melbourne hospitals: Alfred (8), Royal Melbourne (4), St. Vincent's (3), Children's (1), and Prince Henry's.
Betty Drayton, about 30, of North Essendon; probable fractured arm and shock.
Donald Mountjoy, driver of the bus, about 40, of Essen- don; lacerations and shock.
Judith Mccormack, 15, of Carlton; fractured leg.
Shirley Campbell, 13, of Windsor ave., Strathmore; head Injuries.
Raymond Drayton, 26, of Melissa st., North Essendon;
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MANY DIE IN BUS SMASH
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lacerated forehead, treated, and allowed to leave.
Ronald Sell, 15, of Spencer st., North Essendon; lacer- ated head; treated and allowed to leave.
Veris Forbes, 20, of Station st., Chelsea; lacerated lips, treated and allowed to leave.
Mildred Potts, 18, of Bulla rd., Strathmore; fractured pelvis, admitted.
Mr. Don Pittard, of Olive gve., Boronia, saw the smash.
He said the bus came slowly down the hill from Boronia to the crossing.
"It appeared that the driver could see the train, and tried to brake," he said.
"It seemed as if the brakes wouldn't quite pull the bus up. It just rolled on to the line. The engine seemed to be cut out.
"The train driver had been blowing his whistle for at least 150 yards. He didn't seem to have any chance of stopping.
"I couldn't describe the rest — screams and bedlam.
"Bill Mecham and I were only 30 yards off. We got showered by debris and glass. We're lucky we weren't hurt.
"We rushed up and dragged people as far from the wreckage as we could. It was pitiful. I don't want to see it again.
"Some of the women screamed for their husbands.
"Some of them just lay and grimaced in pain.
"The whole town seemed to be there in a few min- utes."
Mr. J. Dean, of Ivanhoe, a passenger in the train, said the front carriage seemed to cut the bus "like a knife through butter."
"Passengers were thrown about, but no one was seri- ously hurt," he said.
"The train had hardly a window broken.
"Scores of people on the train jumped seven feet to the ground into boggy soil beside the line, and assisted with the rescue. It was a night of heroes."
People from Boronia Church of Christ, where some of the dead and injured had sung In the choir at last night's service, wept when they saw, mutilated and dead, friends they had fare- welled only 10 minutes be-
They said the group in the
bus had stayed the weekend at Cliveden guest house at The Basin, and had been at Boronia on a type of retreat, which ended with last night's
William Mecham, another witness of the crash, said the driver of the train blew his whistle for at least 150 yards before the crash.
"That crossing is the greatest death trap in Vic- toria," he said. "Five roads lead into it, and cars and trains can come from any-
Rail services between Mel- bourne and Ferntree Gully were suspended for the night after the crash, and buses transported normal
The previous worst smash at the crossing was about 1935, when nine people were killed in a picnic van.