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Explosion On Board The USS Enterprise

Historical Events

On January 14, 1969 the USS Enterprise (CVN 65) suffered a series of crippling explosions on the flight deck during an Operational Readiness Inspection (ORI). The ship was about 75 miles from Pearl Harbour when a missile warhead detonated on a F-4 Phantom at 8:19 am.

The explosion triggered huge fires fed by the thousands of gallons of jet fuel on board a number of fully loaded Phantoms all parked at the stern of the flight deck. As the fires intensified the bombs loaded on the aircraft began to explode, penetrating deep into the ship. One 500 pound bomb fell from an aircraft down through the ship and passed though the hull at the stern just three feet above the waterline.

After three hours of battling, the fires were completely extinguished by 11:30 am. The disaster left 28 crewmen dead, 343 crewmen injured and 15 aircraft destroyed. It took several months of repairs before the Enterprise could return to action in Southeast Asia.

Posted:  2002-03-21  9:35:23 AM

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