ELEVATOR FELL INTO THE SEA
I was aboard the USS Bennington CVA 20 in October 1958 as an AO3 in the Ordance Division.
The carrier had been to sea for over 50 days patroling the South China Seas during the Formosa crises. My work station at the time was off the hanger deck forward of the Number 3 Elevator. The morning that the Elevator fell off the ship I was on the cat walk outside my work station drinking a cup of coffee. It was a beautiful morning in the Pacific. I was about 150 feet from the #3 Elevator and watch as the the Elevator had brought down an airplane, tow truck and a couple of crew members. The tow truck pulled the aircraft off of the Elevator onto the hanger deck, while the two crew members walked off. The Elevator started to go back up to the flight deck and got about half way up and then fell. As it fell it turn at an angle and at the same time clip fuel lines along the outside of the ship starting a fire. The Elevator hit the ocean with a big splash and was gone. The fire alarm sounded and the fire crew was on the fire with water hoses almost instantly to put the fire out. It did not take them long to get the fire under control. It was later determine that the cables had broken causing the Elevator to fall. We had to leave our duty station and head back to Yokoska Japan for repairs as the Elevator which had damaged a screw. It was an experience to see this all happen.
After the ship returned to Yokoska, I left the ship and returned to the United States for my tour of duty was up and I was discharged.