Landing the Big One

Landing the Big One

Friday, June 19, 2015

Friday Film: "Disasters Don't Just Happen" (1971)

Disasters Don't Just Happen:
Made in the wake of deadly accidents aboard the aircraft carriers USS Forrestal (CV-59), USS Enterprise (CVN-65), and USS Oriskany (CV-34), this U.S. Navy safety film underscores that "Disasters Don't Just Happen". The film examines the causes of accidents and looks for solutions to prevent similar things from happening in the future. Three incidents are specifically examined. First, the 1967 USS Forrestal fire was a devastating fire and series of chain-reaction explosions on 29 July 1967 that killed 134 sailors and injured 161 on the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal (CV-59), after an unusual electrical anomaly discharged a Zuni rocket on the flight deck. Forrestal was engaged in combat operations in the Gulf of Tonkin during the Vietnam War at the time, and the damage exceeded $72 million (not including damage to aircraft). The fire aboard Enterprise occured on 14 January 1969, when a MK-32 Zuni rocket loaded on a parked F-4 Phantom short circuited (due to stray voltage during aircraft engine start) and fired, setting off fires and additional explosions across the flight deck. The fire was brought under control relatively quickly, but 27 lives were lost. An additional 314 personnel were injured. In 1966, one of the worst shipboard fires since World War II broke out on USS Oriskany when a magnesium flare was accidentally ignited. 44 men died in the fire.

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