EDHS News and Updates

"Survivor Story": Treading Water to Survive

Chicago, Illinois -- Stanley Filiposwki (Fillips) and Charles Agnastoklio (Agnos) were both excited to take the Eastland to Michigan City, Indiana, for a day of games, laughter, and celebration. That anticipation quickly turned into horror and panic as they both were plunged into the Chicago River.

Stanley Filiposwki (pictured above) was an assembler at Western Electric Company when he survived the Eastland Disaster. Soaking wet and with only one shoe, he took the streetcar home to his wife and two young children.

Charles Agnastoklio (Agnos) recalled how the gaiety and eagerness of taking a cruise to Michigan City quickly turned into terror and mass death as the Eastland capsized over while still tied to the wharf in Chicago.

I was one of the first to board. The boat was top-heavy. The people who were down below didn't have a chance to get out. Everybody was screaming, pushing and running over everything. I was on deck and able to climb to the top of the boat when it tipped over. The top remained above water. I didn't even get wet - at first.

Suddenly, I was hit by scrambling people and dumped into the river. I drank that Chicago river water and - ooohhh - it was bad. Those of us who drank the water were treated for possible diseases with shots. I found my way out of the ship by vents, passageways, and I don't know what all.

When asked why he believed the Eastland was overloaded, Charles replied, "The excursion company was too hungry for business."

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