Thursday, November 15, 2007

1952 Bridge collapse killed two Nyssa brothers

The Nov. 10, 1952 Argus-Observer reported that two workmen from Nyssa died the previous Friday while trying to raise a damaged bridge that crossed the Owyhee River nine miles south of Nyssa.

(A coroner’s jury would blame the collapse on a lack of engineering supervision, a conclusion that would be disputed by State Highway Engineer R.H. Baldock.)

Dead were brothers Chet and Joe Corfield. Both Chet, 35, and Joe, 28, were World War II veterans who left behind wives and parents as well as six brothers and sisters and a total of seven children.

At the time the accident occurred, the brothers were operating jacks beneath the bridge, attempting to raise it in an effort to repair damage caused by high waters the previous spring.

One of the three workman who escaped injury, Ralph Boyd of Union, described the collapse. He said that he and one of the others working at the far end from where the structural failure began were able to save themselves by jumping into the river and swimming to shore in overalls laden with heavy tools.

The bridge reportedly began to go down in a twisting motion, slipping sideways and sliding off supporting blocks in the area where the brothers were working.

No comments: