Sparrows Point, MD Oil Tanker Explosion, Nov 1926

EIGHT BODIES RECOVERED AS YET.

SEARCH IS CONTINUED TODAY FOR VICTIMS OF OIL TANKER EXPLOSION NEAR BALTIMORE WHICH TOOK 16 LIVES, INCLUDING 12 MEMBERS OF THE CREW OF THE VESSEL.

MANY OTHERS TAKEN TO HOSPITALS.

Baltimore, Nov. 20 -- (AP) -- Painstaking search of the cooling ruins of the Norwegian tanker Mantilla, rent apart by an explosion in its hold while in dry dock at Sparrows Point, early today had accounted for only 8 of 16 men believed killed.
A check made by Captain NILS DANIELSEN indicated that the death toll included 12 of the Mantilla's crew of 35. Four unidentified bodies were apparently those of seamen. The other bodies recovered were believed those of employes of a ship cleaning company. Of these, the body of AMIEL PETERSEN of Baltimore was identified.
Of the two score injured receiving hospital treatment, several had slight chances of recovery, physicians said. Many injured went to their homes.
Accidental ignition of gas generated from oil that remained in a fuel tank when the Mantilla went into drydock was believed the cause of the blast which ripped the vessel's steel plates like tissue. Flames licked from the fissures, scaring workmen from the docks and drydock scaffolding. Rescue workers, who penetrated billows of smoke which blanketed the drydock after the explosion found disabled men frantically attempting to escape from advancing streams of burning oil. Many were taken out with their clothing afire.
Thorough search of the interior of the vessel was impossible until several hours after the explosion.
At that time no trace of bodies could be found. Officials believed the missing men may have been hurled into the water, or consumed in the flames.
LARS LARSON, second mate of the Mantilla, who was aboard when the vessel blew up, gave a graphic account of the disaster from his bed in the marine hospital. He was seriously burned.
"Of a suuden I heard a terrific crash," he said,
"and saw a vivid flame that seemed to shoot out from the side of the ship. It seemed as if the whole side of the ship was coming down on me."
"During this time I heard continuous explosions. Not so loud as the first, but with each successive bang there was a crash and part of the ship seemed to give way."
The Mantilla was owned by W. Wilhelmson of Ponsberg, Norway. She was being reconditioned for service of the Mexican Petroleum Co., on the Tampico-Baltimore run.
The explosion was the most serious harbor disaster in 13 years.

North Adams Transcript Massachusetts 1926-11-20

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SEARCH RUINS FOR CREW.

16 BELIEVED TO HAVE PERISHED IN STEAMER EXPLOSION.

Baltimore, Nov. 21. -- (AP) -- Painstaking search of the cooling ruin of the Norwegian tanker Mantilla, rent apart by an explosion in its hold while in dry dock at Sparrows Point early Friday had accounted for only eight of 16 men believed killed.
A check made by Captain NILS DANIELSEN indicated that the death toll included 12 of the Mantilla's crew of 35. Four unidentified bodies were apparently those of seamen. The other bodies recovered were believed those of employes of a ship cleaning company. Of these the bodies of AMIEL PETERSON and CHARLES BERGIN, both of Baltimore, were identified.
Of the two score injured receiving hospital treatment, several had slight chances of recovery, physicians said. Many injured who were treated at the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation dispensary went to their homes. Physicians and nurses were unable to keep an accurate rally of those hurt.
Accidental ignition of gas generated from oil that remained in a fuel tank when the Mantilla went into dry dock was believed the cause of the blast which ripped the vessel's steel plates like tissue.
IRMA ABRASON, an injured member of the crew died at University Hospital Saturday.

Frederick News Post Maryland 1926-11-22