Tag Archives: Erich A. Kurth

Roller Coaster Accident at Summit Beach (Part 5)

Roller Coaster accident - 1918-07-08, headlineRoller Coaster accident - 1918-07-08, part 5Hardy Tells Story

Hardy regards his fortunate escape to the fact that he leaped from the first car as it neared the ground in the terrific descent. His version of how the crash came follows:

I had been out to the park with Higgins and he urged that we make a trip ‘over the top’ before going home. There were four cars in the string we entered. We took the rear seat in the first car. Each car has four seats, thus accommodating eight persons all told. As we passed from the loading platform and faced the incline the cable that pulls the cars up gripped all right. There was nothing to indicate anything was wrong until we were quite a distance up. Then our car began to start going sideways – a sort of skidding stunt. We saw it meant a bad accident and shouted below for the cable to be stopped. Others in the cars that followed shouted as well, but it was of no use. On and on we went and then over the side. I thought it was all off for any of us. That more were not killed seems a miracle to me. I owe my escape to the fact I leaped from the car as it neared the ground.”

Officials of the Akron Scenic Railway Corporation declared Monday that the accident was not due to a broken wheel or any defect in the construction of the cars. They are still conducting a probe as to the cause of the first car skidding. The police report states that the four cars were fifty feet above the ground when they broke through the runway and fell to earth. Engine company No. 6 of the fire department was summoned to the park and assisted materially in clearing away the debris and aiding the injured.

Frank, King, 373 Pearl st., was dead when taken from the debris. General Bailey of Tarriff, W. Va., was still alive when rescuers dragged him forth. He died, however, while being taken to the People’s hospital.

Mrs. Van Sickle, the third victim to succumb, came to Akron but a week ago from Indianapolis, where her husband was interested in the automobile business. Mr. Van Sickle planned to locate here permanently.

“We had been planning great things,” said Mr. Van Sickle, in speaking of the loss he has sustained. Mr. Kurth invited us to take a ride out to the park in his car and we accepted, taking our six-year-old daughter, Charlotte, with us. It’s pretty tough to lose the best friend a fellow ever had. My wife’s parents reside at 415 S. Grace st., Indianapolis and her body will be sent there immediately. While we lived in that city we were located at 4915 E. New York st.”

“Roller Coaster Accident At Summit Beach Sends Three to Death, With Others Doomed,” Akron Beacon Journal, 8 July 1918, p. 13, col. 2.

A very special “thank you” is in order for the Special Collections Department of the Akron-Summit County Public Library. I emailed my request for more information regarding the roller coaster accident on Saturday and received the results in less than 24 hours. Since I received several days worth of information, I will be breaking the story down into smaller chunks for the rest of this week.

Roller Coaster Accident at Summit Beach (Part 4)

Roller Coaster accident - 1918-07-08, headlineRoller Coaster accident - 1918-07-08, part 4Story of the Crash

Mrs. Kurth was conscious all the way to the People’s Hospital and gave her details of what had transpired to her husband, who accompanied her in the ambulance. She said:

We saw that something terrible was going up the incline the car began to wobble and that the cars ahead of us were wobbling even more. Then from the first car came shouts calling for the machinery to be stopped. We saw that somehing [sic] terrible was about to happen and added our own cries to the others, but it brought no result. The next thing we knew we had crashed through the side of the runway at a point far up in the air and were falling in a terrible mixup of people and cars. That’s all I remember until I felt some one drag me out from under a stack of timber and found it was you.” (meaning Mr. Kurth.)

It has been learned that the shouts of warning urging that the [illegible] be stopped came from Harvey Higgins of 814 Yale st., and Lieut. Lester Hardy of the Goodrich fire department, who occupied seats in the first car. Following the accident, Higgins was found wandering in a dazed condition about the park and was removed to the hospital. Lieut. Hardy was only slightly injured, one leg showing bruises.

“Roller Coaster Accident At Summit Beach Sends Three to Death, With Others Doomed,” Akron Beacon Journal, 8 July 1918, p. 13, col. 2.

A very special “thank you” is in order for the Special Collections Department of the Akron-Summit County Public Library. I emailed my request for more information regarding the roller coaster accident on Saturday and received the results in less than 24 hours. Since I received several days worth of information, I will be breaking the story down into smaller chunks for the rest of this week.

Roller Coaster Accident at Summit Beach (Part 3)

Roller Coaster accident - 1918-07-08, headlineRoller Coaster accident - 1918-07-08, part 3BLOCK OF WOOD PLACED ON TRACK OF ROLLER COASTER
(continued from Page One)

wreckage was gone over and victims drawn forth.

Mrs. Floyd W. Van Sickle, of 70 Cherry st., was one of the first to be removed from the debris. She was alive and was taken to one of the booths on the ground where she was joined by her husband, who had not made the trip. Her death followed as she was being rushed to the City Hospital.

Another victim of the crash, Mrs. Agnes Kurth, was a friend of Mrs. Sickle and had accompanied her on the flight that ended so disastrously. Mrs. Kurth sustaining a broken leg and arm and sprained back. The Van Sickle and Kurth families had gone to the park together in Mr. Kurth’s automobile. While Kurth and Van Sickle made a trip around, their wives had seen to the comfort of little six year old Charlotte Van Sickle, who was too timid to accompany the men. Her timidity may have saved her life later for when she still refused to go her father and his friend cared for her while their wives entered the cars and were borne aloft.

“Roller Coaster Accident At Summit Beach Sends Three to Death, With Others Doomed,” Akron Beacon Journal, 8 July 1918, p. 13, col. 2.

A very special “thank you” is in order for the Special Collections Department of the Akron-Summit County Public Library. I emailed my request for more information regarding the roller coaster accident on Saturday and received the results in less than 24 hours. Since I received several days worth of information, I will be breaking the story down into smaller chunks for the rest of this week.