WBUR reports on the 70th anniversary of a terrible event that took place in South Boston aboard the USS Leyte. The aircraft carrier had won two battle stars for its service during the Korean War. The 27,000-ton vessel could hold 1,400 sailors and 100 aircraft.

The explosion aboard the USS Leyte happened on Oct. 16, 1953, at the Boston Naval Shipyard in South Boston, which is now the Ray Flynn Marine Park. 37 people died, including five civilians. 40 people were also injured. According to the US Naval Institute, it was the largest loss of life ever on the Boston waterfront.

After her tour in Korea, the USS Leyte was undergoing conversion from an aircraft carrier to an antisubmarine carrier when an explosion in the port catapult machinery room shook the vessel to her keel.

The mid-afternoon blast shook the shipyard and the neighborhood around it. All the clocks on board stopped at 3:15pm. The WBUR article goes on to share interviews with survivors and family members of victims of the explosion.

After the tragedy, the USS Leyte returned to sea three months later.  In 1959, the ship was decommissioned and sold for scrap in 1970.

You can read the full details here. 

Image via National Aviation Museum Facebook. 


Leave A Comment