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THE ROYAL TRAIN
TWO CARRIAGES OVERTURNED.
PRINCE'S NARROW ESCAPE.
Bridgetown, July 5.
The Prince's lour through the Soul West was interrupted at about 2.44 tl afternoon by a sensational accident, : Tolving the derailiug and overturning bo of the Prince's special car, and tho min
It was only by an amazing piece of go fortune that (the Prince and n*1 thc otli occupants of the two cars escaped wi their- lives. One shudders at thc thoug of what might have occurred had tthe tr« been travelling at a greater 6pced.
As it fortunately happened, the Prin and his travelling companions, in spite
being hurled, over en embankment whi sitting comfortably in their compartmeni escaped without even a scratch, with the ti exception of Surgeon-Commander Newpu and the Minister for Works (Mr. Georgi The former sustained a nasty cut on VI knee, and the latter, besides being bad shaken suffered from a cut face.
Thc astonishing occurrence took place few minutes after the rojal train had le the Jarnadup station, en route to Brida town. A popular demonstration had ju been accorded the Prince by the* people < Jarnadup, and the train was . movii through tho bush country between Jarn dup and Wilgarup, about ten miles fro Bridgetown, at the rate of about twoli miles an hour, when an unusual grath sound attracted the amazed notice of tl occupants of the royal and ministerial cat which formed the rear of the train. . few seconds tater the passengers in thc fo ward cars heard a couple of extraordinal humps. Thc alarm was raised, and tl train was quickly brought to a standstill.
I Cars on their sides.
A remarkable spcctaole, which made ti
I blood run cold, met the eyes of the rai I way officials and the Press rcpresenliativi
on hastening from their compartments, 1 i ascertain what had occurred- Over
i small embankment, not more than five fei
high, the two cars bad been precipitate* end they were lying on their sides, wit thc roofs facing outwards in a ditch,
truly amazing thing had happened. Som of the carriage wheels had become di railed,, and the royal and ministerial vis tors» sitting snugly in their compartment! I had been hurled down "the embankmeui
banged against the toppled roofs of th car, and left to struggle as best thc might for freedom, until the renwhiin passengers and railway officials could r< lease them. With the two exceptions met tioned. they were released, a little shake;
This sensational experience waa share by the Prince. Admiral Halsey, Lor Mountbatten, Lord Claude Hamilton. Sm geon-Commender Newport, and Colone Grigg in the royal car, and by Ithc Prc mier (Mr. Mitchell), thc Minister fo Works (Mr. George), and the Honorar; Minister (¡Mr. Willmott). The ecurryinj rescue parties from the other carriage were prepared for anything in the way o unprecedented horrors when they roache< and examine^ the overturned cai-s. A feeble cry for help was heard from tlu ministerial oar, but there seemed to be ¿1 ominous silence from the royal compart ments. Rescuers, with axes and any othei implements that could be hastily procured climbed to the top of the overturned ca r<= burst open the windows, and fevorisblj I pursued the work of cxitxication. But t<
their astonished relief, nothing but dis i plays of hilarity were noticeable when tboj
looked through the windows of the roya
j Smiling and Smoking.
Notwithstanding ithat he had been kurlet violently against the side and Toof of th< car, as it toppled over, the Princo wai reclining amid the wreck of the costly com partment, smiling and smoking a cigar "Hurt!" he cried in response to anxious in quiries through the overhead windows "Bless your heart, no! And I'm glad U say the whisky flask is not broken either.' The relief which this heroically flippant reception afforded to the party above must
be left to thc imagination.
Thc Prince, Lord Mountbatten, Lord Claude Hamilton, Admiral Halsey. an<i Surgeon-Commander Newport were as- sisted out in turn and the latter B cut knee was Hie only evidence or injury. Meanwhile others had relcasod the Premier, thc Minister for Works ana Mr. Willmott from the ministerial car. Mr. George was bleeding at the mouth, but thc others were unhurt.. With very little delay the railway of- ficials got into communication with the nearest station by means of an emergency telephone set attached to the track side wires. Bridgetown was thus soon acquaintea cd with the disaster- Within a few minutes after tho Royal train minus the damaged cars, which with a third car that bad been partially derailed bad to be left be- hind, left for Bridgetown.
Tho scene of the disaster presents a much uglier eight than thc actual personal re- sults would suggest- For a distance ot about a hundred yards leading up to the spot , where the carriages were overturned tho permanent way bas been ripped ano torn up, and the rails twisted into ah sorts of fantastic shapes. Although* off thc lino and overturned the cars do not appear to be irreparably damaged." The most ot -Ate Prince's travelling gear and some ot the* rich' carriage fittings were saved from the wreckage,
The; disaster was apparently caused by the'' raflé spreading ' in consequence of the effect -'oh ' fhè embankment; Of ,the: recent, rams. Tfliè ' Officials, however,- expressed! themselves os amazed at thc occurrence since tlie Royal car was only recently sent
over the track
The Royal train reached Bridgetown at
*.30 pm. where thc greeting from the popu- lace was thc more hearty because of the knowledge of what bis Royal Highness had been through.
With thc Premier in thc same compart- ment at the time of the smash wera Senator Pearce and Sir Talbot Hobbs. The Premier, .when the crash came, was dozing in a corner. He awoke with a terrífica start and all three were bundled pell mell against thc .side and the roof of tho over- turned car with the luggage toppling over thom- The Premier's elbow was precipi- tated through a window. The occupants were easily extricated through thc windows of thc carriage and they took thc situation with pliiiosophical calmness. Thc Mayor ot Perth (Mr. Lathlain) was standing on the landing platform of tho Ministerial car and was thrown -to thc ground. There was no need for medical attention to anybody in either carriage.
"This is Fun."
The Prince and his companions were all laughing and joking about thc occurrence when they emerged from thc interior ot the broken compartment. At the timo ot tho accident his Royal Highness was writ- ing a lotter in his saloon and he and Admiral Halsey were thrown violently against tho top and sides- His Royal Highness was remarkably cheerful when Colonel Pest and others hauled him up from his brief imprisonment. ''This is great fun," he said, laughing, "but I knew somehow this bally train would go oil th* linc." Lord Mountbatten was in a gay laughing mood in spite of his sevorc sbak ing- He was joking about the situation when ho was fiAi seen floundering abouf tho debris of his compartment, and he subsequently expressed- himself as de lighted with "the funny experience."
From an examination of the sceno it is apparent thc two cars turned turtle almost simultaneously. Two factors alone pre- vented an appalling tragedy. Tho first was that thc train was travelling at a stow «peed and thc second was that "owing
to the couplings being unusually strong the cars, instead of.being hurled violently over were let down comparatively lightly. Happily thc cars with the struggling occu- pante inside were uo¿ dragged any distance after they toppled over. Tho whole inci- dent however, was full of thc most awful possibilities, which were obviated only by miraculous chance. The train was a double header with seven carriages, the first five being occupied by different officials and Press representatives and the last two by
the Boyal party and tb© Government repré- sentatives. . _ ."
Before the Boyal tram reached Bridge- town the officialg of the pilot train, which preceded the Prince's train, were notified et the accident and at Bridgetown «hile the welcome proceedings were in progress thc old ministerial car was transferred from the pilot to the Boyal train for tho accom- modation of his Royal Highness and staff., The remaining occupants of the train were accommodated as circumstances permitted. The rearranged train ig now on its way to Bunbury, via Donnybrook
The railway authorities are disposed to attribute thc accident to the theory that this light, agiiculural line after the recent heavy rains was overt ased by thc double- header with such a heavy length of car- riages Th» interior of the ministerial cai caught fire shortly after the Ministers extrication, but tho fire was put out with a bucket of water. A remarkable fact, which showe how fortunato were tbo occu- pants of the cars, is that at the time of thc capsize thc Commissioner of Rail- ways (Colonel Pope) was actually going forward to give order« for (he speeding up of thc train as it was a bit bellina schedule time. What had made thc train slow down just before was a str¿y cow on thc line-a providential interference on the part of the cow.