Disasters: Wreck of the Ocean Ranger

A U.S. oil rig, a Soviet freighter and 116 lives are lost at sea

The call for help that flashed into the Canadian Armed Forces Search and Rescue Coordination Center in Halifax, N.S., at 1:56 a.m. carried an unmistakable note of desperation: "Request assistance a.s.a.p. ... We are an offshore drilling platform ... Winds at this time are approx.... 75 knots.. . Rig is of semisubmersible build ... is listing severely 12° to 14°portside."

Those were the last words heard from the Ocean Ranger. By the time the first rescue aircraft were able to...

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