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Did Explosives in Transit
Cause Tragedy on the
Kettle Valley Coach


Doukhobors Believe Explo-
sion Accidental; Do Not
Favor Bomb Theory

Possibilities that the explosion which wrecked the day coach on the Kettle Valley train on Wednesday morning causing nine deaths and injuries to nine persons, was caused by an explosion of some high explosive possibly dynamite is now advanced. The reported careful handling of a grip by a Hindu on board the steamer Nasookin on Tuesday night has led to this theory. This theory completed with that of the bomb theory advanced by Canadian Pacific railway officials on Thursday.

The clock work. according to railway officials, which may have been used as part of a time appliance to set off the high explosive which wrecked the car consisted of part of an alarm clock. It had many of the wheels intact and is to be examined by an expert to ascertain whether a piece of wire which is attached is part of the works of the clock or had been put on afterward.

Was Ordinary Battery

The part of the battery which was found was a piece of an ordinary large size battery such as used in launches and for ignition in Ford cars of the type in which wet batteries were not used. The part was not of an ordinary flashlight battery, but much larger. The clock shows where parts of the glass around the edge had fused in the fire which followed the explosion.

Handled Grip Gingerly

Exceptionally careful handling of a grip by a Hindu on board the Crow boat on Tuesday night attracted the attention of two of the stewards on the steamer.

According to the story of the waiters on the boat, there were three Hindu passengers Tuesday night. One was a very tall man. As the boat neared the wharf all passengers reached for their grips off the rack in front of the boat. The grip rack was crowded, for there were many passengers on board.

One of the Hindus, according to the waiters. took one grip from the shelf on the boat. He handled it most gingerly as if anxious to avoid jarring it: Taking it down he handled it carefully to a fellow Hindu. The receiver of the grip took the grip and carried it carefully away.

The first mentioned Hindu then took another grip, quickly and carelessly, and the two men went off the boat and boarded the railway train.

Since the accident occurred there remains one charred body believed to be that of a Hindu. His remains are at Grand Forks. Two other Hindus are at present patients in the Kootenay Lake General hospital.

Grip Contained Mantle Clock

One of these Hindus in the local hospital, it has been reported yesterday made a statement to local police authorities that in his grip which was destroyed in the explosion, he had a mantle clock. The possible gingerly handling of the grip on the steamer might be accounted for, as containing a clock. However it is not known what Hindu handled the grip on the boat whether it was one of the two injured and now patients in the hospital, or whether it was the Hindu whose remains now are unidentified in Grand Forks.

One of the Hindus in the hospital states that he purchased a clock of the mantle type variety at Cranbrook. It was a large clock with a wooden framework, apparently about 18 inches or so in length and seven or eight inches in height.

Fond of Clocks

Hindus are fond of clocks, nearly all of them having at least an alarm clock, and it is pointed out that if the grip which was handled so carefully on the boat contained a timepiece of this type, the Hindu would naturally deal with it gently.

The matter is being investigated. What now makes the clock theory a mystery is the fact that several clocks are alleged to have been carried in the car by passengers. One report yesterday was that nine clocks were accounted for among passengers on the train.

Doukhobors Reject Bomb Theory

Members of the Doukhobor colony yesterday seemed of the opinion that it was not a bomb which had caused the death of their leader. They attribute the explosion either to gas or some other high explosive carried on the train by a passenger. or perhaps by a prospector or farmer.

One theory advanced from community circles is that someone carrying dynamite in a grip placed it in the coach. The heat of the coach may have possibly melted the dynamite so that the nitro-glycerin might run off.

The presence of but two women in the coach and the fact that it was late at night may have led some one of the men passengers to smoke. A careless disposal of a match or cigaret butt, could have caused the flicker which caused the explosion of the nitro-glycerin.

The Doukhobors think it is highly improbable that a bomb was used purposely for Peter Verigin.

Leave for Grand Forks

Little further evidence revealed yesterday in the city in regard to the case. Police officers had little information to offer. Railway officials had nothing further in regard to the cause of the explosion. Practically all evidence of tragedy will now be withheld until inquests open. Grand Forks inquest opens this morning at 10 o'clock.

Superintendent W.O. Miller and the members of the crew on the ill-fated train, J. Turner, Conductor, W. Marquis and J. Brennan left on the Kettle Valley last night for Grand Forks to attend the inquest. With them went Canadian Pacific railway Constable House, and the chief of the Canadian Pacific railway police department, who arrived on the Crowboat from Montreal. Several other government officials and detectives will attend the inquest.

The inquest in Nelson will open on Monday afternoon. Wether it will go ahead or adjourn further is not known. The local jury has demanded several investigations which must be reported on when the inquest opens.

Autopsy Completed

The autopsy on the bodies in the local morgue ordered by the jury was completed yesterday, but the report was not disclosed. The investigation was ordered to ascertain wether or not signs of shrapnel or other substances had entered the bodies of the dead.

The body of Neil E. Murray of Grand Forks was shipped to his rela tives last night on the Kettle Valley train.

That of W.J Armstrong will be forwarded to Vancouver this evening.

Source: "Grip Theory Now Shades that of Bomb," Nelson Daily News, November 1, 1924.

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