Sound clip: a Tangiwai disaster survivor talks

Mr W.J. Anderson, a survivor, describes his experience.


Mr Anderson: Well I was sort of brought up with a round turn, shall I say, by the sudden jolting of the carriage as if something was … suddenly, well … a kind of grating noise as if something was stopping us, or we were making a sudden stop of some sort. I was rather curious to find out what it was, and I could see at the front of our carriage what appeared to be a cloud of steam or white cloud of some sort. That seemed strange. We were quite a long way back in the train. I couldn't work that one out at all. Well, I had a nasty feeling then that there seemed to be nothing else in front of us. Our carriage just seemed to be almost marooned, shall we say. Nothing on either side except water. I could hear the rushing; there was a tremendous rushing of water, and there was quite a lashing of foam, and you could hear it. It was rather frightening, and I had a nasty feeling then that we were sort of on some sort of bridge or other, just left to it.

Interviewer: And when you came to, how did you get out? Do you remember getting out of the carriage?

Mr Anderson: Well I don't … we didn't really get out at all. Somebody sort of said to us, after what appeared to me to be quite a few seconds pause, we better get out of this, but he was sort of taking it quietly; we better get out of this carriage. Very shortly after that I sort of reached for my raincoat and put it on and my wife's coat, I don't know whether we could have got that on or not, but I had it, and the next thing we felt a sort of lurching, sort of a sway. That one put most of us all out of balance. Then there was a kind of downward kind of a plunge of some sort, and it seemed as if we sort of floated for quite a bit.

Interviewer: What carriage were you in?

Mr Anderson: Carriage Z, actually.

Interviewer: That was the one that, er, that went over last or first was it?

Mr Anderson: It was the first carriage. It seemed to be the only carriage I could see left on the bridge; I wondered what happened to the rest of it. As I said before, I had the uncanny feeling that something had disappeared in front of us. [END]

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1 comment has been posted about Sound clip: a Tangiwai disaster survivor talks

What do you know?

Michael Shearer

Posted: 20 Nov 2011

For those who don't know Carriage Z was the first and only First Class carriage that plunged into the river and it was this carriage that Cyril Ellis climbed aboard to try and save the passengers