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APPALLING MAGNITUDE OF THE TRAGEDY WHICH HAS PLUNGED THE COMMUNITY IN GRIEF.
The toll of dead of the terrific blast of explosives from the French transport Mountblanc, which swept like a death-carrying tornado over the City of Halifax on Thursday morning remains uncounted. The actual number of those who perished will probably never be known. When a large section of the City has been wiped out, whole families have disappeared and the surviving wounded, scattered over a dozen hospitals and countless private house, are still too dazed or too weak to recall what occurred on the dire morning, it is extremely difficult to form any accurate estimate of the loss of life. The furious blizzard of yesterday which buried the ruins in snow-drifts, made the task of searching parties almost impossible and the bodies of many victims will probably not be recovered until the debris has been cleared away in months to come. The general opinion continues to be that the list of dead will total from 1,500 to 2,000 and that the injured will number at least 3,000 more.
OVER 300 BODIES
Already over 300 bodies have been recovered at the temporary morgues, most of which are not yet identified. The patients reported at the Military Hospital on Cogswell street, Camp Hill Hospital, Pine Hill Hospital, School for the Blind, Y. M. C. A., Knights of Columbus Hall, the Infirmary, Victoria General Hospital, and other institutions, are in the vicinity of 2,000 and additional names are being hourly reported.
Stricken Halifax shrouded in sorrow is being cheered and encouraged by the flood of sympathetic messages and offers of aid which are pouring in from all quarters at home and abroad. The expressions of sympathy from our American kinsmen are wonderful. The Governors of several States, the Secretary of the Navy, numerous cities all over the Union have tendered assistance, the great State of Massachusetts has sent a fully equipped relief train, which arrived in Halifax early this morning and a second train, despached from Washington, will reach the City today bearing the tangible proof of American sympathy in this day of distress.
WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN.
Although the extent of the tragedy of Thursday has been described as amazing, appalling and incalculable, an expert in explosives has made a statement that should cause Halifax, shrouded in grief as she is, to realize that she has had a miraculous escape.
The Mont Blanc carried between three thousand and four thousand tons of high explosive munitions and had the same quantity of explosives been stored on land when the explosion occurred, it would have wiped out every living thing within an area of ten square miles. Not even a cat or a rat would have been left to show that life had ever existed here. Fortunately for Halifax, the Mont Blanc was the storehouse and the water acted as a sort of cushion not only softening the force of the explosive action but making a rebound possible. The Mont Blanc lay across the Narrows, bow on towards the Halifax shore. Small wonder that the North End of the City was wiped out in the twinkling of an eye almost. Terrible as the tragedy is it might have been a hundred fold greater and swept every vestige of human habitation on both sides of the harbor from Point Pleasant to Bedford, out of existence. Ther ewould have been none left to tell the story, for not even Louvain was so thoroughly demolished as Halifax would have been.
FELL 200 MILES AWAY.
It almost seems as if the actual occurrences had been softened by the consideration of much worse possibilities. The report and the shock of the explosion we had, was heard and felt to an almost unbelievable distance.