Boston, MA Explosion On Aircraft Carrier LEYTE, Oct 1953

Leyte Carrier





Boston, Oct. 17. -- Naval intelligence and the FBI today probed through the wreckage of the huge aircraft carrier LEYTE in search for clues to the cause of the four explosions and fire that took 35 lives and injured 40 other persons.
Because some of the LEYTE'S below-decks compartments, torn by the blasts, could not be thoroughly searched, officials said there was a possibility that more bodies would be found on the ship.

Blackout On Probe.
The Navy clamped on a news blackout as the probe to determine the cause of the disaster began. The possibility of sabotage was not being ruled out, inasmuch as the entire ship had been inspected a short time before the first explosion.
The blasts and flash fires ripped the forward part of the 27,500-ton warship as she lay tied up yesterday afternoon at the South Boston naval shipyard annex.
Official comment was guarded, but naval officers said there appeared to have been nothing aboard the vessel, which was undergoing re-fitting, that could account for the disaster.
So quickly did the smoke and fumes of the fire spread through the ship that the skipper, Capt. THOMAS AHROON of Norfolk, Va., was forced to flee from his cabin by a hatchway because he could not get into the passageway without suffocating.
Physicians and priests who attended the dead and dying in the aircraft LEYTE disaster said today they were of the opinion that a majority of the victims suffered carbon monoxide poisoning.

Caught Below Decks.
Sailors and civilians were caught far below decks by the explosions and fire. They perished by flame, fumes, concussion and falling bulkheads and some may have drowned when the sprinkler system let loose a torrent.
It was the worst waterfront disaster in Boston's history and the worst peace-time tragedy for the Navy since the destroyer HOBSON was rammed with a loss of 175 lives in the Atlantic on April 26, 1952.
The fire fed on a rich diet of hydraulic fluid mixed with alcohol. Fuel pipe lines were tortured out of shape by concussion.
Every emergency ambulance in Boston and some suburbs was rushed to the scene within minutes after the extent of the disaster became known. The Red Cross appealed for blood donors and poured precious plasma into hospitals and dockside emergency wards to stave off the effects of shock and burns.
U.S.S. Aircraft Carrier LEYTE, victim of a mysterious series of explosions below decks at South Boston Naval Shipyard annex at 3:17 p.m. yesterday, is a veteran of Korean action.
At the time of the blasts there were 1,400 men aboard the vessel, which was in drydock for minor repairs. Her peacetime complement is 2,100 and she usually carries 83 airplanes.

Board Of Inquiry.
The Navy said a board of inquiry would convene Monday on the stricken vessel to determine the cause of the tragedy.
Three bodies were found in the port catapult room and seven others were piiled up in the No. 1 bomb elevator on the port side. The fire set off the ship's sprinkler system and men far below decks were trapped in flooding compartments.
The Navy said a full casualty list would be issued later today. Identification was difficult in many cases, since several of the victims were horribly mutilated in the explosion.
The injured were under treatment at the Chelsea Naval hospital, Carney hospital and Boston City hospital.

New Castle News Pennsylvania 1953-10-17


Did you know Ed Buzyik on

Did you know Ed Buzyik on that ship?f3frP

Did he come from Somerville?

Did he come from Somerville? I grew up with a Dave and Selby Herald in Somerville. They lived on Preston RD. Their father had passed away but they never really talked about it much

Leyte crewmember

Bill. Saw article in Ocala news while researching Dad's ship, USS Leyte. Dad was aboard Oct. 16 and was known as Lonnie, or Tred for nicknames. His name was Alonzo Tredwell, and served as MP, SP, and an aviation bosuns mate...wish I knew more about events aboard ship. His mother lived in Winthrop, on boston waterfront at time of explosion. Dad couldn't talk about, just mentioned a few really scary things very briefly, very rarely, and only after a few drinks. He was scarred under the watchband of a gold watch his mom gave him. wouldn't take it off because it said god guide thee and guard thee - and - he was sent below removing bodies. too consumed by tasks of urgency, etc. Michael tougias' book devotion - about hudner and brown - was excellent, but didn't answer questions i had about the ship, etc. ship photographer ted beal - of the era just before the fire- was living near me in maine - ellsworth maine - and his kids still run beals blew my mind when i went in to buy a watch battery and noticed a beautiful photo of dad's ship....they held on to alot of teds photo archives...i remember dad had a kind of yearbook for shipmates....and in a news photo of men carrying off wounded, is a shot of someone looking similar to dad...very tall, red hair, he had a very good sense of humor and cared about the welfare of sailors when he was on shore patrol or overseeing them re-painting the ship... .please answer back.

Bill ... my dad Jim Gorman

Bill ... my dad Jim Gorman was in charge of a crew of guys while the ship was dry docked. He was on leave the day of the explosion. Many of his men died. It haunted him forever. Dad passed 3 years ago this fall

My Grandfather was one of the

My Grandfather was one of the people also removing bodies. His name was John Harold Taylor. He also worked in the shipyard as a machinist. Unfortunately he passed in the mid 1980's

My grandfather was one of the

My grandfather was one of the men who died. I wonder if you knew him? Selby Herald was his name.

My Dad was on the USS Leyte

My Dad was on the USS Leyte during the explosion. Shortly before the explosion, his superior ordered him to go to the other side to run an errand, saving his life. Dad passed years ago.


My Father Byron Place was amoung those taking people off ship did you know him?


What did you do on the ship? My grandfather was on the ship also during the explosion, I never got to ask him about it. His name was Regis Joseph Glaesner, known as chick. He was an ft2

beitler article

Having been aboard the Leyete at the time of the explosion, I find this article only partly accurate. I will not take the time to clarify it. I was in the only authorized picture taking a wounded crewman from the ship. I'm in the back left without a hat.