Pensacola, FL (Off Shore) Battleship IOWA Explosion, Apr 1903

Iowa Battleship circa 1898.jpg

BIG GUN ON IOWA BURSTS AND MANGLES SEVEN MEN.

THREE MEN ARE KILLED OUTRIGHT AND FOUR OTHERS ARE SERIOUSLY INJURED.

FRAGMENTS OF GUN TEAR DECKS OF BATTLESHIP.

EXPLOSION OCCURRED WHILE TARGET PRACTICE WAS IN PROGRESS OFF PENSACOLA -- VARIOUS CAUSES ARE ASSIGNED FOR THE EXPLOSION OF GUN.

Pensacola, Fla., April 9 -- (Special) -- A most disastrous explosion occurred on the battleship Iowa today while the vessel was at target practice in the Gulf of Mexico. The forward port twelve-inch gun burst from the premature explosion of a shell, twelve feet of the piece outside the turret being demolished. Three men were killed and five injured, two seriously.
The killed are:
First Class Seaman KIELE.
Ordinary Seaman PERCELL.
Gunner's Mate BERRY.
The injured:
First Class Seaman PAUL GAUGHT, lost eye, in critical condition.
Ordinary Seaman THURSDALE.
Ordinary Seaman BROWN.
Ordinary Seaman MANSDALE.
Ordinary Seaman PURUCKER.
The seamen killed and injured were on the second or gun deck at mess. Three pieces of the exploded gun, each weighing over a ton, passed downward through the spar deck falling upon the men at mess instantly killing the three named. All of the men were horribly mutilated. The heavy missiles after passing through the gun deck continued down to the third deck, where they came in contact with the armored deck, the heavy steel bringing them to a stop, thus saving the engineers and firemen who were at work below.
Although the upper decks were crowded with men, no one there was seriously injured. The men in the turret felt the explosion but slightly.
The explosion occurred at 12:05 p.m., just as the mess call had been sounded. Firing was to have ceased after the shot for the dinner hour. The range had been set and the Iowa was steaming along at a speed of twelve knots an hour.
Lieutenant Reed, in charge of the forward twelve-inch turret gave orders to load and fire. The time fuse was cut for the range and the piece charged, breech closed and the word given to fire.

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