A Little Rain and a Day of Disaster

Look for a little rain for Friday morning through midday. A little MCS from Thursday night will wander down a warm front as it lifts up our way. The above is the NAM depiction of rain from morning through midday. Clouds will break up by the afternoon. Forget about the low humidity for the weekend as the front moves through and brings back the soupy air.

On This Date In History: It wasn’t supposed to be able to happen. Modern ships. Modern communications. Modern radar. A huge Atlantic Ocean. Yet, two ships managed to run into one another on

Doria Sunk

Doria Sunk

the high seas off the coast of Nantucket. At 11:10 pm the Swedish liner Stockholm and Italian Liner Andrea Doria collided in heavy fog. The Italians(over 1700 passengers) were coming from Europe to New York while the Swedes(just under 750 passengers) were headed home from the New World. The Stockholm was traveling a bit north of its recommended route in an effort to save time. Fog was thick. The Doria had a much more sophisticated radar and picked up the Stockholm at a distance of 17 miles. The Stockholm radar operator picked up the Doria at 12 miles. Like the Stockholm, the Doria was trying to keep its schedule and only slightly reduced speed in spite of the reduced visibility. So, both Captains seemed to have sacrificed safety in the name of speed.

Apparently, the normal procedure for ships passing was port to port. But for some reason, the Italian Captain

Stockholm Damage

Stockholm Damage

decided to turn port and make an unconventional starboard to starboard passage. It is thought the Italian Captain thought that the Swede was doing the same thing. Why these guys didn’t get on the radio and talk about it is a mystery. Or maybe they did and there was a language barrier. Whatever the case, the two slammed into each other. The Stockholm had a reinforced, ice breaker bow and just sliced the Doria. The Stockholm sustained damage and a handful of crew members died. Nearly 50 passengers and crew died on the Doria as the ice-breaker bow cut into passenger quarters. One man watched in horror as his wife was dragged out of the Doria never to be seen again. But one story caught the attention of the press and forever dubbed 14 year-old Linda Morgan as the “the miracle girl.” Morgan was taken from her bunk on the Doria as the two ships separated. She was found on board the Stockholm. I do not think she was charged with being a stow away.

The Doria listed badly so only half of her lifeboats were available for evacuation. The Stockholm though lowered its boats and other liners in the area quickly answered the doomed Doria’s mayday call. It is the greatest maritime rescue in the annals of history with 1660 souls plucked from the sea.

Here is the Bob Symon/ Ward Cleaver moral to this story: You can have the most sophisticated top-shelf equipment and technology in the world. But if you’ve got a doofus operating that stuff, its worthless. Now the self-serving but honest plug: Remember that when choosing which channel to watch next time there is severe weather and you really want to know what is going on.

The Greatest Rescue of All Time

On This Date in 2000 The Concorde made its final flight. The supersonic passenger jet was taking off from Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris en-route to New York where it would take its 100 passengers to a cruise ship headed to South America. However, the plane hit a tiny piece of titanium debris, dropped on the runway by a previous plane, that punctured a tire. A piece of the tire hit and ruptured a fuel tank. Leaking fuel then ignited by a spark from the landing gear. The engine was soon engulfed and the engine failed. With only three engines, it was impossible to gain altitude or maintain control. The plane crashed and all 109 passengers and crew were killed along with 4 people on the ground. The Concorde went back into service in November 2001 but a few minor mishaps caused the public to lose confidence in the aircraft and the planes were taken out of service in October 2003. The Bob Symon/Ward Cleaver moral of this story is to clean up your mess.

Here is some video (click here for video) with still photos of the Concorde in flames on its fateful flight.

On This Date in 1832: The first railroad disaster took place. A group of 4 people were invited to see the new marvel of technology. The Granite Railway near Quincy, Massachusetts. The four visitors were put in an empty car for a ride. A cable snapped on the car in which they were riding and the visitors were tossed off a 34 foot cliff, killing one and seriously injuring the others. The Bob Symon/Ward Cleaver moral to this story is you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. Twenty-Eight years later, just prior to the Civil War, over 30,000 miles of railroad track criss-crossed the nation. OR…if you don’t like that moral, how about this? Don’t ride on strange trains.

Maybe the biggest moral to these stories is not to travel on July 25.


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