Da Nang, South Vietnam's second largest city, fell to Communist forces on Sunday. It was?
AERIAL SHOT Aircraft approaching Da Nang.
GV & SV South Vietnamese troops in vehicle on tarmac.
GV & MV Refugees scrambling to get to aircraft. (3 shots)
GV Troops on runway and smoke from rocket.
CU & GV U.S. Flag and Consulate. (2 shots)
SV Small groups onto power boats. (2 shots)
SV & MV Boat approaching cargo ship. (2 shots)
MV Americans assisting people boarding ship.
GV Thousands of refugees on boat. (3 shots)
SV Marines checking for arms as marine stands by with gun. (3 shots)
GV ZOOM OUT TO LV Other refugee vessels nearby. (2 shots)
SV TILT DOWN Small boy in crate being lowered into hold, other refugees carried and led aboard ship. (4 shots)
CU & SV Children. (3 shots)
AERIAL VIEW Loaded ship.
MV Refugees PAN TO LV Cam Ranh Bay.
Transcript: Brian Barron: "Because of the breakdown in order every flight into Da Nang ??? hazardous. The crew do not know what to expect on the ground, South Vietnamese Army being ??? to control its own troops.
"This, the last day of evacuation flights. Flight 601 arrives midday to pick up at least two hundred refugees, but the desperate people on the ground other ground.....they all want to go. This has become the every scene in South Vietnam. People climbing over each other to save themselves. There is no one trying to control them. The ??? at the airbase is interrupted by new danger: rockets from the ??? Vietnamese who are closing in."
"Twilight in Da Nang, the Americans decide to close the Consulate and evacuate what used to be one of their biggest bases in the Vietnam war."
"At seven in the morning we are ordered to the dockside in small groups. A total of three hundred Americans, foreigners and Vietnamese."
"We rendezvous with an American cargo ship which normally carries bombs and ammunition to South Vietnam."
"The Americans decide our ship is to pick by seven thousand refugees, some of the six hundred thousand who've gathered in Da Nang. they come alongside at ten a.m. There are many army deserters among them......troops who should be staying behind to defend the city."
"The U.S. Marines check the deserters for weapons and grenades. There's a report that some might try to hijack the ship at gun-point and head for foreign parts."
"Seeing this evacuation, other refugee vessels try to manoeuvre close...panic again. The Marines fire into the air to restore stability."
"It's providential for the refugee that the Save the Children team is being evacuated too."
"On the second day -- that's this Easter weekend -- the shipload of Americana, Vietnamese and foreigners is safely steaming south, the first ship in the evacuation convoy."
"After one-and-a-half days we reach out destination: Cam Ranh Bay. Its a sandy, arid spot. Not the sort of place to begin a new life."
Initials VS 12.25
EDITORS NOTE: This film is serviced with English commentary by BBC reporter Brian Barron, which is for use.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Da Nang, South Vietnam's second largest city, fell to Communist forces on Sunday. It was the largest single defeat suffered by the Saigon Government in 20 years of fighting.
Deputy Premier Phan Quang Dan announced the fall of the city and told newsmen that there would be an "unavoidably high casualty rate" among the 1,500,000 refugees who he said had poured into the city.
Evacuation attempts succeeded in bringing out a small fraction of the refugees.
The airlift was halted on Saturday (29 March) when scenes of panic broke out as the last aircraft landed. Soldiers shot one another in the scramble to get aboard the aircraft. The flight to Saigon was meant to be for civilians. When the aircraft landed it was found there were only three among the more than 300 soldiers aboard.
Meanwhile a sea-borne evacuation had started. One U.S. cargo ship, the Pioneer Contender, loaded 7,000 refugees as well as the staff of the U.S. Consulate and other foreigners in the city. Small boats and barges containing thousands of refugees made their way alongside the ship when it was seen loading civilians. Most of the refugees could not be taken aboard.
The ship took its load to Cam Ranh Bay in the south and returned to Da Nang Bay. By nightfall on Sunday (30 March) it -- along with other evacuating craft -- was anchored off the port waiting for the situation on shore to clarify itself before attempting further evacuations.