4 Amish children die when buggy flips in Ky. creek

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By BRUCE SCHREINER and KRISTIN M. HALL
The Associated Press
Friday, February 25, 2011; 7:24 PM

MAYFIELD, Ky. -- By the time Emanuel Wagler reached the creek with his wife and seven children in their horse and buggy, it was too dark, too deep and too late.

As Amish who eschew electricity, they might not have known that the weather service had issued a flash flood warning an hour before. But they knew it was raining hard, and Wagler's brother figured the tiny creek they had to cross would already be up to the buggy's axle.

When Wagler got there - halfway home, a mile to go - the creek was more like a fast-moving river. In moments, the buggy tipped over, tossing four children into the water. Then the search began.

Soon after midnight, so did the grief.

Rescuers had pulled out the bodies of three of his children. By morning, they found the body of his niece.

"We're trying to give the family some time by themselves right now to grieve," Graves County Sheriff Dewayne Redmon said. "There's no doubt that this was just a terrible accident."

The night began with a short trip to Wagler's brother's house. His family climbed aboard the horse and buggy - a common sight on the narrow paved roads in Dublin, in western Kentucky.

Emanuel and his brother, Samuel, traveled to a push-button phone, stashed inside a little wooden shack along the road a short distance away. A stool sits just inside.

The Amish use the phone for business and to call relatives. The brothers called their father in Missouri.

"That's the main reason they came out, to call my dad," said Samuel Wagler, 37, who recounted the evening.

Later, the families ate supper. By Thursday evening, Samuel figured the tiny creek his brother had to cross had risen to about the buggy's axles.

Emanuel, his wife and seven children - one of them Samuel's 11-year-old daughter Elizabeth - were on their way back around 8:30 p.m., an hour after the National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning.


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© 2011 The Associated Press

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