Dare County schools closed Tuesday

Remembering the USS Forrestal deadly fire 50 years later

NORFOLK, Va. - It has been 50 years since a deadly fire on board the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Forrestal.

On July 29, 1967, the Forrestal was off the coast of Vietnam for combat operations in the Gulf of Tonkin.

A rocket misfired, striking a fuel tank on one of the planes and a fire on the flight deck began igniting bombs on board.

“When the first bomb went off, it more or less knocked all four of my lights welded to the flight deck to the floor and it went to instant dark,” survivor Michael Yatsko told News 3 during a memorial service in 2014.

By the time the fire was under control, 134 men had lost their lives, 64 more were injured and 21 aircraft were destroyed. The Forrestal itself also suffered major damage.

A ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary of the tragedy was held Saturday at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. More than 250 survivors of the fire and their families were in attendance for the ceremony.

The ship was saved though and continued to serve the United States until it was decommissioned in 1993.

In February 2014, despite efforts to save the ship, the Forrestal was towed to Texas to be scrapped.

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