Disaster at sea: a VISNEWS cameraman flew low over the Persian Gulf April 8 for dramatic shots of the smouldering British cargo liner "Dara" - abandoned and drifting after catching fire during a violent storm.
AERIAL VIEW..flying over the "Dara" on fire.
AERIAL V...approaching ship.
AERIAL V.."Barpeta" rescue ship approaches the "Dara".
TOP V..The "Dara" burning.
AERIAL V..TWO SHOTS.."Barpeta" alongside the "Dara".
AERIAL V..on leaving the "Dara".
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Background: Disaster at sea: a VISNEWS cameraman flew low over the Persian Gulf April 8 for dramatic shots of the smouldering British cargo liner "Dara" - abandoned and drifting after catching fire during a violent storm.
One of the most effective sea rescues in history was carried out after British ships had rushed to the scene. Latest reports April 9 indicated that, of the 67 passengers and crew, 522 were saved. There were some 150 people still to be accounted for.
The "Dara", owned by the British India Steam Navigation Company, was bound from Kuwait for Muscat. She had set sail from the Trucial Oman port of Dubai that morning hoping to ride out the fierce electric storm.
A raging fire broke out, became out of control within a few minutes and there were three explosions in the fuel tanks. There was a frenzied rush to jump into the sea. Some lifeboats got away but flames beat back the crew when they attempted to lower others.
First to answer the vessels distress call was the tank-landing ship "Empire Guillemot". She picked up 300 passengers - many of them from a heavy see - and headed for Dubai. The tanker "British Energy" took about 150 survivors on board, including some injured. She headed for Bahrain.
Three British frigates, the "Loch Ruthven", "Loch Fyne" and the "Loch Alvie" abandoned exercises off Bahrain and steamed to the scene at full speed. The "Loch Ruthven" secured the "Dara" by the stern and played hoses on the flames. Then the other two frigates moved in and a small fire party was sent aboard.
Ships searched desperately during the night for further survivors. It was feared that many of the 150 missing must have died in the fire or have been killed by sharks which swarmed which swarmed round the stricken "Dara".
Most of the passengers were said to be Indians, Pakistanis and Gulf Arabs. There were a few British and Americans. Most of the officers were British