Sept 26 – A Day of Historic Voyages

Today is the day the Queen Mary was launched and date of the Concorde’s first trans-Atlantic flight.  It is also the anniversary of a number of major air and water disasters, including the sinking of the MV Le Joola  (the second-worst non-military maritime disaster in number of lives lost) and debuts (including Gilligan’s Island and George Magazine).

1580

Sir Francis Drake Circumnavigates the Earth

Sir Francis Drake completes his circumnavigation of the earth – the first Englishman to do so.  He returned witha rich cargo of spices and captured Spanish treasures. The Queen’s half-share of the cargo surpassed the rest of the crown’s income for that entire year. 

1934

Queen Mary Launched

The HMS Queen Mary is launched.  Her maiden voyage, however, was not until May 1936.

1954

Tōya Maru Sinks

From Wikipedia:

The Tōya Maru (洞爺丸?) was a Japanese train ferry constructed by the Japanese National Railways which sank during a typhoon in the Tsugaru Strait between the Japanese islands of Hokkaidō and Honshū on September 26, 1954. It is said that 1,153 people (Japanese National Railways announcement in September 1955) aboard were killed in the accident. However, the exact number of fatalities remains unknown because there were victims who managed to obtain passage on the ship at the last minute, and others who cancelled their rides just before the incident occurred.

1964

Gilligan’s Island Premiers

The SS Minnow’s famous “three-hour tour” ended on a deserted island and entertained viewers for 98 episodes over three seasons.  The Minnow was named in reference to Newton Minow, chairman of the U.S. FCC, who was most famous for describing television as “a vast wasteland.”

1973

Concorde Crosses The Atlantic

The Concorde makes its first non-stop crossing of the Atlantic in record-breaking time.

1977

Freddy Laker Launches SkyTrain

Laker Airlines SkyTrain debuts offering discount air fares across the Atlantic.  While Laker Airways failed, low fares and buying meals on board are becoming popular. Similarly, buying tickets on the day of travel has been adopted by airline shuttles plying the United States’ Northeast corridor and on the Eastern shores of Australia.

From Wikipedia:  Laker Airways’s most important legacy was that pioneering low-fare services across the Atlantic helped pave the way for low-cost airlines such as EasyJet and Ryanair, liberating the industry from the regulatory straitjacket IATA had imposed for decades in collusion with governments. These governments invariably were sole or majority owners of most IATA airlines. This was Laker Airways’s greatest contribution to its industry’s future development.

Sir Freddie Laker became an inspiration and cautionary tale for Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Atlantic Airways, when they set about deciding their long-term strategy.

1995

First Issue of George Magazine

From Wikipedia:

George was a glossy monthly magazine centered on the theme of politics-as-lifestyle founded by John F. Kennedy, Jr. and Michael J. Berman with publisher Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S. Its tagline was “Not Just Politics as Usual”. It was published from 1995 to 2001.

When it first appeared, George attracted great interest, and for a brief period had the largest circulation of any political magazine in the nation, partly due to the celebrity status of Kennedy, but it soon began losing money. Kennedy later complained that the magazine was not taken seriously in the publishing world.

Critics called George “the political magazine for people who don’t understand politics”, assailing it for “stripping any and all discussion of political issues from its coverage of politics”. In a feature in its final issue, Spy magazine asserted that the magazine’s premise was flawed; there was no real convergence of politics and celebrity lifestyles.

1997

Garuda Indonesia Flight 152 Crash

From Wikipedia:

Garuda Indonesia Flight 152 was a scheduled domestic Indonesian passenger flight from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta to Polonia International Airport in Medan, North Sumatra, flown using an Airbus A300B4 registered PK-GAI and operated by state owned flag carrier Garuda Indonesia

On Friday, September 26, 1997, Flight 152 piloted by Hance Rahmowiyogo, 42, a pilot with over 20 years of flying experience at Garuda Indonesia and more than 12,000 flying hours, crashed into mountainous woodlands 30 miles (48 km) from Medan during low visibility caused by the 1997 Southeast Asian haze. All 234 passengers and crew were killed in the disaster. The crash site was in a ravine near the village of Buah Nabar in the Sibolangit district south of Medan.

To date, Garuda Indonesia Flight 152 remains the deadliest single-plane crash in Indonesian history, and the deadliest aviation accident in 1997. The death toll was and remains the fourth-highest of any aviation accident involving an Airbus A300, after China Airlines Flight 140, American Airlines Flight 587, and Iran Air Flight 655.

2000

MS Express Samina Ferry Disaster

From Wikipedia:

MS Express Samina  was a French-built roll-on/roll-off (RORO) passenger ferry that collided with a reef off the coast of Paros island in the central Aegean Sea on 26 September 2000. The accident was caused by negligence by the crew, for which several members were found criminally liable, and resulted in 82 deaths and the loss of the ship.

2002

Second Worst Non-Military Maritime Disaster

From Wikipedia:

MV Le Joola was a Senegalese government-owned ferry that capsized off the coast of the Gambia on September 26, 2002.  The disaster sent 1,863 people to their deaths. The sinking of Le Joola is thought to be the second-worst non-military maritime disaster in number of lives lost. The first is considered to be the MV Doña Paz in 1987 with an estimated number of over 4,000 dead. The RMS Titanic, which sank in 1912 with 1,517 lives lost, would be third according to the World Almanac and the New York Times.]

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