Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

1931, October 26 - Man hit by a train on the CNR., draw bridge at Smiths Falls, one fatality.

Ottawa Journal 26 October 1931

Trapped By Train Drops to death
Ralph Nielson, Smiths Falls, caught on draw-bridge.

Smiths Falls, Ont., Oct. 26 - dropping to his death as he tried to save himself from being run down by a train, Ralph Nielson, aged 25, of 51 Chambers street west, Smiths Falls, was drowned in the Rideau river, midnight, Saturday, when he failed to secure a hold on a pier of the lift bridge, which carries the C.N.R. tracks across the river within the town limits, after being trapped on the bridge by an oncoming freight train. His body was found dead this morning in about six feet of water near the scene of the tragedy. Mr. Nielsen, who had been in business in Smiths Falls, had locked up his shop on Main Street shortly after 11 o'clock. He spoke with his father, James Nielson, at the corner of Main and Maple streets, shortly afterwards and told him he was going to meet a friend on the Lombardy Road, taking a shortcut across the bridge, as was his custom. He was not seeing alive after that.

William Bernard, bridge tender, heard a scream shortly before midnight, just before the freight due in Smiths Falls at 11.40, had reached the bridge, and went out to investigate after calling Chief of Police G. Phillips. Nothing was found, however, until yesterday when marks were noticed on the pier indicating that Mr Nielson had fallen into the water, 10 feet below.

At 7 o clock this morning, J. Mitchell, of Smiths Falls, noticed the body in the water, near the shore, and on the arrival of police it was recovered. There were no marks on it and all the money Mr. Nielsen was known to have had on his person was accounted for by his father. The victim could not swim very far and it is thought the cold water and his clothes prevented him from reaching Shore.

(More non railway)

Coroner Dr. C L.B.. Stemmers stated this morning that a post-mortem and an inquest will be held sometime during the next few days.

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Updated 29 January 2021