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Premier Stephen McNeil has proclaimed today, Oct. 23, as HMCS Kootenay Day in Nova Scotia in remembrance of the worst peacetime accident in the history of the Royal Canadian Navy.

On Oct. 23, 1969, nine crewmen died and 53 were seriously injured after an explosion at sea ripped through the Kootenay’s starboard gearbox. The crew’s quick response was credited with preventing further loss of life and saving the ship itself.

“We have a rich military tradition in our province and proudly honour the sacrifices of brave servicemen and women past and present,” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “This year’s recognition of the Kootenay disaster is especially meaningful with the loss of six of our military personnel in the Cyclone crash off the coast of Greece less than six months ago.”

Quick Facts:

  • at the time of the Kootenay explosion, the ship was more than 300 kilometres off the southwest coast of England performing sea trials
  • in 1972, six of the crewmen were awarded new bravery decorations accredited by Queen Elizabeth II
  • the Bonaventure Anchor Memorial at Point Pleasant Park in Halifax commemorates the personnel of the Canadian Armed Forces who lost their lives in peacetime at sea in the performance of their duties


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