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Eyewitness accounts 50 years after the Halifax Explosion

The Story

Francis Mackey, the Halifax pilot who was aboard the Mont-Blanc when it exploded, accuses the Norwegian vessel Imo of disregarding port protocol in this CBC Radio clip from 1967. By attempting to pass on the wrong side, "she cut through us like a piece of cheese," says Mackey. But the Imo's third mate, who survived the explosion, says it was entirely the Mont-Blanc's fault. The Norwegian survivor says the Mont-Blanc crew failed to warn the Imo about the dangerous cargo aboard. Instead, he recalls with bitterness, the Mont-Blanc crew was too busy saving themselves.

Medium: Radio
Program: Between Ourselves
Broadcast Date: Dec. 6, 1967
Host: Bill Fulton, Paul Hershon
Duration: 2:55

Did You know?

• The Mont-Blanc was completely decimated in the blast. The Imo would sail again but on Dec. 3, 1921, almost four years after the explosion, it finally sank after crashing into a rock off the Falkland Islands.
• The Imo, at 131.3 metres long and 13.8 metres wide, was bigger than the Mont-Blanc, which was 97.5 metres long and 13.7 metres wide.

• Captain Haakon From, Pilot William Hayes and five members of the Imo crew died in the explosion. Everyone from the Mont-Blanc survived, except one member of the crew who later died from his injuries.


The Halifax Explosion more