Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser 20 January 1855

Fatal Accident on the Bathurst Road. —A most dreadful accident occurred on the night of the 12th instant at Eighteen-Mile Hollow, on the Bathurst Road, which re- sulted in the death of Mr. John Bootle, carrier, a resident at St. Mary's, South Creek. Mr. Bootle was returning with his dray from Bathurst, when, at the abovenamed spot, and, as it would appear, while asleep, the horses went too near the siding, and the dray upset, falling a distance of from six to eight feet, and crushing poor Bootle beneath its weight. With the dray upon his thighs and the lower part of his stomach, the poor sufferer lingered till morning, when he was discovered, and still had sufficient strength left to give directions as to the readiest way of extricating him. After the dray was raised, and he was drawn out, in less than two minutes he breathed his last. An inquest was held on the body on Friday, and a verdict of accidental death returned. Strange to say, the six horses are uninjured, save a few scratches to the shaft horse. It is painful to add that the cash handed over as the amount found upon him falls very short of what he ought to have had—some miscreant not only cut his pocket from his trousers, but actually ripped open the lining of his coat. The deceased has left a widow and two children.— Empire, Jan. 17.

[Note: John Bootle is buried at Penrith. See ]

SJC comments:

He was trapped for many hours under his dray, and breathed his last soon after the dray was lifted from him. This confirms medical teaching that in such a situation, one doesn't lift the weight, one amputates the limbs.

During the entrapment of the limbs the potassium flows out of the cells due to hypoxia and lowered pH. When the weight is lifted, this potassium flows suddenly to the heart which then stops because K disrupts the electrical activity of the heart. This is the same way the US executioners stop the heart - a sudden intravenous injection of potassium.

Better legless than dead!