Map of Tangiwai disaster site

Map of Tangiwai disaster site

This map shows the wide dispersal of wreckage after the engine and first six carriages of the Wellington–Auckland express plunged into the Whangaehu River near Tangiwai on Christmas Eve 1953.

At approximately 10.21 p.m. the engine, tender and all five second-class carriages plunged off the southern bank. The leading first-class carriage, Car Z, teetered on the severed bridge and was boarded by Cyril Ellis and a guard, William Inglis, before it crashed into the torrent below. The two men, together with passenger John Holman and an unidentified man, saved all but one of this car’s 22 occupants by lifting them through the windows.

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