Bibliografia Ferroviaria Italiana
Dispaccio di Dana Adams Schmidt, corrispondente di guerra dell'agenzia United Press, pubblicato in "The Monessen Daily Independent" - Monessen (Pennsylvania, U.S.A) lunedì 6 marzo 1944, pagina 1
500 Italians Asphyxiated In Train
By Dana Adams Schmidt
NAPLES, March 6 - (U.P.) - Five hundred Italians - most of them stowaways - were asphyxiated by carbon monoxide when a freight train stalled in a tunnel in southern Italy. An accident described officially today as "one of the most regrettable as well as one of the most unusual in the history of railroading."
Brig. Gen. Carl Gray, director general of military [railway] service for the Allied forces in Italy, announced that the accident occurred early Friday when the freight train full of stowaways stalled on a grade in the tunnel.
Only one member of the train crew - the fireman - survived and the full story of what happened still was being pieced together from the blurred account which he gave in the hospital. About 60 of the passengers also were saved. All aboard the train were civilians, none of them Americans or British.
"Most of the crew and unauthorized passengers alike were asphyxiated almost instantaneously," Gray said. "Preliminary reports indicate there was no sign of panic.".
He ordered a board of inquiry composed of Allied military railroad experts and Italian state railways officials to make a complete invesitigation and report on the accident.
The death train was a regular freight train of the Italian State Railways operated by a regular civilian crew. It consisted of 12 cars of civilian freight and 33 empties.
The stowaways "apparently climbed aboard in the darkness while the train was being switched in one or two of the last stations through which it passed before entering the tunnel," the official communique said.