In last week's episode, as 1951 drew to a close, we left Captain Kurt Carlson
clinging, alone, to the rapidly disintegrating hulk of the Flying Enterprise.
As cameras brought the film to our television sets, the towering North Atlantic
storms pounded the sinking German freighter. Would help arrive in time?
And how could a rescue be carried out? Let us return to wh`t of the Flying
The weather eased a bit as 1952 debuted. Somehow the ship held together.
Somehow Carlson clung to his precarious perch. In the meantime the Turmoil,
a British salvage tug, had arrived on the scene on January 4th. Kenneth
Dancy, mate of the tug, managed to board the Flying Enterprise and
the following day he helped Carlson hook a towline to the freighter. Soon
the two vessels were headed for Falmouth, England. For three days the two
men endured this modern version of a Nantucket sleigh ride. On January 8th,
disaster struck. As another winter storm moved in, the tow line parted.
Attempts to re-attach a line were thwarted by heaving seas and foul weather.
On January 10th the Flying Enterprise began to roll over onto its
beam ends. The ship's demise was swift. Just before she went to the bottom,
Carlson and Dancy jumped, Darcy first of course, from the ship's now-horizontal
funnel into the icy Atlantic. In a short time, the two men were aboard the
Turmoil. Carlson was finally safe, after a twelve-day ordeal.
The rest of the year would seem anticlimactic in many ways.
But weather can always be counted on to provide drama, and 1952 would be
no exception. Even trains were not exempt. On January 16th, more than 200
passengers aboard the streamliner City of San Francisco would be
stranded by a snowstorm in California's Sierra Nevada, before being rescued
three days later. Florida experienced it's first ever February tropical
storm. In March, two days of tornadoes in the Mississippi Valley would leave
229 people dead. A July earthquake would be California's second worst, to
date. Slightly over two weeks later, aftershocks would do extensive damage
to the business district of Bakersfield. The Cape Cod waters off Chatham
claimed two tankers - the Pendleton and theVictory, this
Not all weather disasters were violent. Droughts plagued the southern U.
S. in 1952, with President Truman declaring Kentucky and Tennessee as official
drought disaster areas. And in London 4,000 people would die during smog
© 1997 David Minor / Eagles Byte
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