According to the Detroit Free Press, the passengers who were fortunate enough to escape injury immediately set to work drawing out the wounded and the dead from "the heap of ruins in which they lay".
By 11:00 A.M. the bodies of twenty-five men, eleven women and ten children had been recovered and it was estimated, at this time, that from "ten to twenty others yet remained to be discovered". Several of the dead discovered were described, by witnesses, as "crushed out of all human shape, presenting a heart-sickening sight".
The two second-class cars, which bore the main brunt of the collision, contained a number of emigrants from Germany who were on their way to various places in the United States. They were on their way to start a new life in what they had been told was an exciting New World full of hope, promise and prosperity.