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Remembering the deadly 1967 USS Forrestal fire

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Posted at 2:26 PM, Jul 24, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-28 15:22:35-04

Norfolk, Va. (WTKR) -Wednesday marks 48 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, when a fire on the flight deck began igniting bombs on board.

A rocket misfired, striking a fuel tank on one of the planes.

“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 NewsChannel 3’s Todd Corillo during a memorial service in 2014.

Survivors of the fire gather every year in Norfolk to honor their fallen shipmates, vowing to never forget the men who lost their lives that day.

That annual service was held Friday at the Navy’s Farrier Firefighting Facility in Norfolk.

Future Senator John McCain barely escaped his aircraft on the flight deck ahead of the explosions.

By the time the fire was under control, 134 men died, dozens more had been injured and the Forrestal had suffered major damage.

The ship was saved 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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USS Forrestal survivors gather in Norfolk to remember deadly fire