A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

History: NY-Bound Train Plunges from Newark Bay Lift Bridge, 48 Die (1958)

The 18 Sep 1958 edition of The Matawan Journal provided the names of 18 local area residents who  were killed, injured or missing and presumed dead in a major railroad accident on 15 September 1958. Two engines and three coaches of a New York City-bound passenger train of the Central Railroad of New Jersey fell from the Newark Bay lift bridge into the murky depths of the lower Newark Bay that Monday morning, causing 48 persons to lose their lives.  It was thought to be the second-worst train accident to date.

Here is the initial list of killed, injured, and missing, as well as some of the many notes about the victims and their families, itineraries, etc:

Raritan Township
  • Gilmore Corcoran, 26, was on his way to his job at Western Union in NYC (missing and feared dead)
  • Henry Reski, 34 (missing and feared dead)
  • Daniel Sherban, 69(injured)
  • Harold Plate, 40 (injured)
Union Beach
  • John McCloskey, 55, was heading to a business meeting in NYC. He was living with his daughter and son-in-law (James Jones) in Union Beach. McCloskey had returned from contracting work in Tripoli two weeks earlier. (injured)
  • Donald Weaver, 38 (injured)
  • Joseph McDonald, Jr, 31 (injured)
  • Mrs Thomas McKittrick (injured)
  • Edward McKittrick, her son (injured)
  • Nancy McKittrick, her daughter (injured)
Keansburg area
  • Frederick C Schweizer, Jr, 34 (dead)
  • Merritt Jones,  45 (injured)
  • Mrs Vernica Jurgelowicz, 29, (dead) and her infant son, Paul (below), were on their way to visit relatives in Jersey City. Her husband, Frank, worked for the railroad. They had moved to Matawan from Bayonne some months ago. They had two other children.
  • Paul Edward Jurgelowicz, her 5 month old son (missing and feared dead)
Holmdel Township
  • Raphael A Leon (injured)
  • Mrs Teresa Leon, his wife (dead)
  • Walter Hope, 55 (dead)
 Matawan Township
  •  Mrs Joseph Jackson, 34, was on her way to visit her sister in Brooklyn, a weekly trip. (missing and feared dead)
Point Pleasant
  • Alvin Hager, 59, stepfather of Mrs Robert E Hartman, of Keyport (injured)
Jersey City
  •  Mrs Helen McDonald, 51, returning home from visiting relatives in Hazlet (dead)
An update to the story can be found on the front page of the 25 Sep 1958 edition of the Matawan Journal. Funeral services were detailed on pg 12.

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