Way back when: Today in history
BY GENE CURTIS
Tuesday, January 08, 2013
1/08/13 at 2:36 AM
1971 - Passengers rescued
The French cruise ship Antilles ran aground on an uncharted reef in the dark and choppy Caribbean Sea, causing a fire that left the ship "ablaze from stem to stern," but all 635 passengers and crewmen survived. The passengers and crewmen escaped in 17 lifeboats or were rescued by residents of tiny Mustique Island a half-mile away. The luxury ship's captain said the impact with the reef ruptured a fuel line that caused the fire.
1979 - Ship explosion kills 50
Two explosions that may have been caused by gases from the ship's emptying oil tanks ripped through the French tanker Betelgeuse as it was unloading at a Gulf Oil Co. terminal in Bantry, Ireland. Irish Prime Minister Jack Lynch said the cause of the blasts was unknown, explaining "everyone involved is dead." The explosions hurled the bodies of all 41 crew members, two representatives of the tanker's owners and seven local workers into a sea of burning oil that prevented rescuers from searching. The ship had been carrying 114,000 tons of crude oil.
1994 - Skater wins, rival hurt
Tonya Harding skated to a second U.S. Figure Skating Championship in Detroit after skater Nancy Kerrigan dropped out of the competition because of injuries suffered on her right leg in a clubbing by an assailant in Detroit. Harding won the championship and qualified for the Olympics as Kerrigan, who won a year earlier, watched. Harding later was stripped of the title because of her involvement in the attack and four men, including Harding's ex-husband, were sentenced to prison for the attack. Harding also was fined $100,000 and placed on three years' probation.
1999 - Clinton trial begins
The trial of President Bill Clinton on charges of high crimes and misdemeanors in the first presidential impeachment in 131 years had started a day earlier but procedures were still unfolding in the Senate. Clinton was accused of perjury and obstruction of justice stemming from his sexual relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. The trial, with Chief Justice William Rehnquist presiding, ended with Clinton's acquittal Feb. 11.
President Bill Clinton waits to make remarks as his impeachment trial opens in the Senate. AP file