Initially, the chief road engineer had planned to stop the train at the Gasconade River bridge, so the guests could see the new 760 foot long structure. Due to being behind schedule a fatal decision was made to not stop and continue on to the Jefferson City destination. When the train reached the bridge over the Gasconade River, the temporary wooden trestle work between the east bank and the first pier collapsed. The train plunged 36 feet into the river. Only one car remained on the tracks after the disaster. The steam engine and seven cars fell through the broken timbers, with the others cars rolling down the embankment. Over thirty individuals were killed with hundreds injured seriously.