In a raging inferno that swept the mammoth American aircraft-carrier "Constellation" December 19 at Brooklyn Navy Yard, New York, at least 50 people lost their lives and 260 were injured.
GV The "Constellation"
GV Smoke rising PAN down to firemen working
SV Firemen move forward with hose
PAN..from men to smoke from carrier in BG.
CV Fire chief
GV Fire appliances on quayside
GV Billowing smoke PAN to firemen
GV Firemen on elevated cradle
GV Carrier and smoke etc.
SLV Group of firemen
CV Fireman given oxygen
LV Fire fighters move up gangway
SV Casualty borne down gangway
MV Casualty brought down in cradle to men below
SV Another casualty carried down gangway
MV Borne past camera
GV Quayside crowded with helpers and fire fighting appliances
MV Casualty, with medical appliance carried alongside, past camera
SV Another casualty slung down by crane to helpers below
MV Stretcher case past camera
MV Another stretcher case towards and away from camera
MV Another stretcher case carried along
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: In a raging inferno that swept the mammoth American aircraft-carrier "Constellation" December 19 at Brooklyn Navy Yard, New York, at least 50 people lost their lives and 260 were injured. In the city's gravest ship disaster since 1942 - when the French liner "Normandie" went up in flames - there was doubt that anyone was left alive.
With an abundance of wooden material on board, the 60,000-ton steel vessel burned fiercely despite the frantic efforts of 90 fire-engines and every available fireman in New York. The number of people missing was given as "anything from six to 60".
In a vast cloud of acrid black smoke, tens of thousands of tons of water were poured into the ship, causing a list to starboard of five degrees, and a fear that she might sink. But the list was partially righted when Navy personnel opened the seacocks and flooded the portside tanks.
The next day, firemen still battled on against widespread flames with red-hot plates of the fire-gutted carrier buckling and collapsing around them. Weary rescue teams searched the lower decks seeking any men still trapped aboard.
Some 4,200 construction workers were on board the ship when the fire started after a spark from an acetylene torch fired 500 gallons of paraffin knocked onto the deck by a truck.
Damage to the carrier - among the largest in the world - was estimated at GBP27 million. The "Constellation" is 1,047 feet long and is the latest of the six carriers of the "Forestal" class. Built at a cost of GBP90 million she was due to be commissioned in March 1961.