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Newspaper Page Text
self and pitched once more. The third T
time it tipped and turned over.
Then was enacted a scene of hor
ror indescribable. With a mad rush
2,000 people attempted to get off the
boat. In a moment the river was so
filled that people were jumping right
down on top of one another. In spots
people were two and three deep be
neath the water, the bottom ones
struggling vainly to get up until they
died, often dragging with them the
more fortunate ones on top.
There was not room to swim.
Those who could not tread water
simply had to sink.
Because of the jam of people in the
water rescue work was difficult. The
boats could only reach the outer
fringe. Those in the center who were
strong enough to stick up took their
turn in being saved.
At least 500 were caught inside the
boat Many of these were women
with babies who had retired to state
rooms. Few of these were saved.
Those not drowned, it is claimed,
were suffocated with steam.
Oliver Hamersley, 76 W. Monroe,
rushed on Oxylene outfit to the side
of the ship to burn a hole through the
steel in hopes of rescuing the steam
cooking passengers. He says CapL
Pederson tried to order him off be
cause he didn't want holes burned in
Where the Eastland sank the water
was so deep that but 15 feet of the
side of the boat appeared above wa
ter. Ross H. Geeting and Anna Golnick,
saved, said women and children were
beaten to death by the maddened
crowd before they had a chance to
leave the deck.
The tragedy struck Chicago with
a blow like that of the Iroquois theat
er disaster. It was the biggest of all
lake disasters. The last big lake
catastrophe was in 1868, when the
Seabird burned in Lake Michigan and
Business practically suspended
near the accident this morning.
Every pulmotor, ambulance, diver,
police and fire reserve in the city was
rushed to the scene. Loop stores sent
their delivery wagons to be used as
Doctors came by hundreds They
organized resuscitation crews to sup
plement the pulmoters In reviving the
unconscious. Within a short while
230 dead bodies had been recovered.
Coroner Peter M. Hoffman arrived
early on the scene. Told that Cap't
Pederson had tried to stop men from
cutting holes in the side of the boat
to rescue imprisoned from state
rooms, he emphatically announced
that property would not be consid
ered in effecting rescues. Many died
because the pulmotors were over
burdened. A net was stretched across the
river at Adams st to catch floating
bodies. At one time it was feared the
Clark street bridge would go down,
it was so crowded. Police had diffi
culty in clearing it People were also
ordered off the packed fire escape!
along the river.
W. J. Greenbaum, general manager
of the Indiana Transportation Co.,
which leased the Eastland, said the
boat was permitted to carry 2,500 and
that number were on board. He said
two deputy collector of customs
counted the persons who went up the
Lieut-Gov. Barratt O'Hara board
ed the boat for a personal investiga
tion. "It we can prove criminal negli
gence," said O'Hara, "there will be
prosecutions. We will also see to it
that In future boats do not leave the
uaiLioi overcrowded. This seems to
be a case of placing dollars and cents
above human lives."
All of the Eastland's crew were ar
rested and all papers in the captain's
office were taken in charge by the
police after being brought out by
Daniel Donovan, diver, brought up
25 bodies. One man was revived by
a pulmotor after being in the water.