The province has proclaimed Tuesday, Oct. 23, as HMCS Kootenay Day in remembrance of the worst peacetime accident in the history of the Royal Canadian Navy.
“We honour the crew of HMCS Kootenay, and may we never forget those who lost their lives in service to Canada,” said Premier Stephen McNeil, who is also Minister responsible for Military Relations.
On Oct. 23, 1969, nine crewmen died and 53 were seriously injured after an explosion ripped through the Kootenay’s starboard gearbox. At the time, the ship was more than 300 kilometres off the southwest coast of England performing sea trials.
The crew’s quick, professional response to the ensuing fire and deadly smoke was credited with preventing further loss of life and saving the ship itself. Six crewmen were awarded new bravery decorations accredited by Queen Elizabeth II in 1972, including two crewmen who were the only recipients of the Cross of Valour that year.
A commemorative event marking HMCS Kootenay Day will take place Tuesday, Oct. 23 at 10 a.m. at the Damage Control Training Facility Kootenay, 11245 John Brackett Dr., Herring Cove, Halifax Regional Municipality.