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Bob Smith remembers sinking of Andrea Doria PDF Print

Watching the Andrea Doria
Watching the Andrea Doria
Fifty-three years ago -- at 11:10 p.m. July 25, 1956, two ocean liners – the Andrea Doria and the Stockholm --  collided in the foggy coastal waters of the Atlantic Ocean near Nantucket. 

Eight hours later, the Andrea Doria’s bow went under and the beautiful ship went to her watery grave. 

Among those at the scene of the tragedy was Key West / Rio Dulce’s popular architect/artist Bob Smith of s/v Defiance.

Bob Smith
Bob Smith

At that time, Bob was a young seaman aboard the USCG Owasco. He was 20 years old. 

Bob and the USCG Owasco were on a routine patrol in the Atlantic searching for ice bergs as part of the International Ice Patrol formed after the sinking of the Titanic. 

Starboard view

“We would spend six weeks at a time in our search grid then return to New York,” Bob said. “We had just been relieved and were heading back when we got the mayday call.” The Owasco stood by at the scene and watched the Andrea Doria slip beneath the water.

 “It was very heartwrenching but we knew that there were still 40 people trapped aboard in the damaged section of the ship – but there was no way they could be rescued,” he remembered.

The Andrea Doria’s radio operator was the last person to leave the vessel.

Andrea Doria going under
Andrea Doria going under

Other ships assisting in the rescue were the Ile de France, USN transport Pvt. William H. Thomas, freighter Cape Ann, the Robert E. Hopkins, freighter Laura Maersk, tanker Manaqui, USN destroyer Edward H. Allen and US Coast Guard ships Campbell, Yakutel, Acushnet, Evergreen, Hornbeam, Lagare and Yeaton. 

It was the greatest civilian maritime rescue in history, and 1,660 lives were saved.

rtist's conception of Andrea Doria under the sea
Artist's conception of Andrea Doria under the sea

Andrea Doria's last minutes
Andrea Doria's last minutes


Andrea Doria's stern going under
Andrea Doria's stern going under

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