San Francisco, CA Sub POMODON Explosion, Feb 1955
3 KILLED, 2 MISSING IN SUB BLAST.
San Francisco (AP) -- Three Navy men were listed today as dead and two others as missing and presumed dead, the result of an explosion Sunday night aboard the submarine USS Pomodon, moored at San Francisco Naval Shipyard.
The three known dead were named by the Navy as:
CHARLES CHESTER MATTSON, 21, torpedoman third class, son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Mattson of Pablo, Mont.
WILLIAM JOEL WOODS, 19, sonarman third class, son of Hercil and Georgia Woods, St. Louis, Mo.
CHARLES BERTLET BOWMAN, 20, torpedoman third class, son of Mrs. Laura Bowman, Atlantic City, N.J.
Those listed as missing and presumed dead:
CARL DONALD BARCKHOFF, 29, chief electrician's mate, husband of Mrs. Alberta E. Barckhoff, National City, Calif., whose parents, Mr. and Mrs. Harry D. Davis, live in Shawnee, Ohio.
Lt. (jg) JOHN JOSEPH HACKETT, 26, husband of Mrs. Sylvia Marilyn Hackett, San Diego.
Four other sailors were injured seriously. Two civilian rescue workers were hospitalized after inhaling poisonous gases. One of the Navy injured underwent surgery at Oak Knoll Hospital.
Only a few sailors were reported aboard at the time of the blast.
Normal complement of this snorkel submarine is about 85 officers and men.
The Navy identified three of the injured crewmen, all taken to Oak Knoll Hospital.
Lt. LLOYD WHITE, San Diego, multiple fractures and burns, condition serious.
CARLIN J. COBB, electrician's mate, Hayden, Colo., burns on arms and right leg, condition satisfactory.
Seaman BOBBIE D. PULLIAM, Success, Ark., burned on arm and face, condition good.
The civilian workers, taken to Marine Memorial Hospital, were identified as HOWARD F. SWIFT, 36, South San Francisco and ROBERT E. WILLIAMS, 24, Oakland.
Two lesser explosions shook the gas-filled forward section of the submarine early today -- four hours after the initial blast -- and workers were pulled off the ship.
Lt. AUSTIN R. DOYLE, a 12th Naval District public information officer, said the Navy will postpone search operations until the Pomodon's batteries discharge and the vessel is cleared of explosive hydrogen gas. He said, "It may be tormorrow or next weed" before search is resumed.
The fire after the initial blast was extinguished quickly by civilian workers and sailors from the aircraft carrier Philippine Sea and the submarine Catfish.
The first explosion ripped the forward battery room, where batteries were being, charged preparatory to giving the Pomodon her first sea trial today after 4 1/2 months of overhaul.
Photographers were not permitted to take flash pictures because of the hydrogen gas. Navy officials said a spark from a flash bulb might cause a chain reaction explosion.
Press-Telegram Long Beach California 1955-02-21