October 26, 1966 : Fire breaks out on U.S. aircraft carrier

Introduction

A fire breaks out on board the 42,000-ton U.S. aircraft carrier Oriskany in the Gulf of Tonkin. The accident occurred when a locker filled with night illumination magnesium flares burst into flame. The fire spread quickly through most of the ship, resulting in 35 officers and eight enlisted men killed and a further 16 injured. The loss of life would have been much higher except for the valor of crewmen who pushed 300 500-pound, 1,000-pound, and 2,000-pound bombs that lay within reach of the flames on the hangar deck overboard. The fire destroyed four fighter-bombers and two helicopters, but it was brought under control after three hours. The fallen were returned to the United States for burial.

Also on this day: President Lyndon Johnson flies to South Vietnam after attending a meeting in Manila for a surprise two-and-a-half-hour visit with U.S. troops at Cam Ranh.

Article Details:

October 26, 1966 : Fire breaks out on U.S. aircraft carrier

  • Author

    History.com Staff

  • Website Name

    History.com

  • Year Published

    2009

  • Title

    October 26, 1966 : Fire breaks out on U.S. aircraft carrier

  • URL

    http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/fire-breaks-out-on-u-s-aircraft-carrier

  • Access Date

    October 23, 2017

  • Publisher

    A+E Networks