RELIEF WORKER MEETS WITH TRAGIC DEATH – Struck With Flying Fragment Of Stump – Inquest Held At Cranbrook Saturday Night – Jury Makes Recommendations.
Earl Hilding Norberg, an employee of the provincial government on relief work near Goatfell, received injuries on Friday afternoon which resulted in his death about 9 p.m. that evening in the St. Eugene hospital, where he was rushed for medical attention. Following the setting off of a charge of blasting powder during road clearing operations, Norberg, who was about one hundred yards distant when the charge went off, was struck by a fragment of stump, weighing about twenty pounds. He was struck in the chest, the terrific impact breaking several ribs and lacerating his liver, which was the immediate cause of death.
A coroner’s jury was impaneled on Saturday evening composed of L.P. Sullivan, foreman, Gordon Hanna, T.M.R. Stewart, Bert Crowe, T. Clauson and Orin Knight. The coroner, Dr. G.E.L. MacKinnon, heard the evidence of Bert Revans and Harold Tipper, who were employed along with Norberg, and Constable Kirkup, who investigated the accident.
Bert Revans was the first witness called. He stated that about 2:30 p.m. Friday afternoon a series of charges were set off. The usual warning, “Fire!”, was sounded the customary three minutes before the fuse was lighted, which gave an additional three minutes to burn before the explosion. After the “All Clear” was sounded Revans heard someone shout three times, the third call being more in the nature of a cry. He went in the direction from whence the voice came and found Norberg on his back in great pain. Revans called for help and Harold Tipper arrived, who summoned other men, when the injured man was carried to the road and placed in a car and taken to Yahk, where the hospital ambulance brought him to Cranbrook.
The injured man told Revans a piece of flying wood had struck him in the side. Questioned as to the distance from the scene of blasting Revans stated he would judge Nirberg was about one hundred yards away. He was satisfied no unnecessary risks had been taken. He believed the piece of wood which injured Norberg ricocheted off a tree and struck him a glancing blow. The evidence of Harold Tipper corroborated the statements of Mr. Revans.
Constable Kirkup, who investigated the accident, going to the scene Saturday morning, produced the death-dealing weapon in evidence. He made a careful examination of the scene and was satisfied that death was accidental.
Dr. Green testified that he had attended the injured man in the St, Eugene hospital Friday afternoon, where he was conveyed by ambulance about 6 p.m. The victim showed signs of hemorrhage. There were many abrasions on the chest and two or more ribs were fractured. He did everything possible to relieve the injured man. He bound his wounds and ordered stimulants. About 9 o’clock he received a phone message from the hospital saying that the man’s condition was serious. He passed away shortly after 9 p.m. A post mortem examination was held Saturday morning, revealing a fracture of the third and fourth ribs and laceration of the liver. Death was caused by bleeding from tear in the liver.
The jury returned a verdict of accidental death with no blame attached to anyone. They recommended that foreman be instructed to exercise greater precaution in ordering men to a safe retreat.
The deceased was about 39 years of age and a native of Ohus, Sweden. He had been in this district about two and a half years. He leaves a widow.
The funeral was held on Monday from the undertaking parlors of F.M. MacPherson, Rev. George Webber taking the committal service. Four fellow workmen carried the pall.