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The once proud Andrea Doria is breathing its last! The shipwrecked passengers of the Andrea Doria and the passengers of the Stockholm are standing by the railing of the Swedish ship, silently and passionately watching the incredible event before them. The horror of the preceding night is still marked clearly on their faces. Many are dressed in clothes that they wore when the tragedy happened; a great many more, scantily clad, have covered themselves with only a blanket. They will witness the end of the Andrea Doria.

The Andrea Doria Sinks-Douglas Edwards 7/26/56
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Ray Maurstad: Douglas Edwards, Dean of CBS News, was the first anchor correspondent for CBS Evening News preceding Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather.


Seaworthiness Nil

Andrea Doria on her side taken from the Allen. Photo: Werner O. Grabner

The sinking itself began at 9:45 a.m., when the ship lurched over on her side at somewhat less than  a right angle to the water. Captain Calamai could look down the black interior of the ship's funnel as the elliptical stack faced him, hovering just above the water line. The ship might have gone at that moment but instead she hovered there, high out of the water and over on her side.

Andrea Doria nearly perpendicular to the water.

In truth, she was not sinking at that moment; she was capsizing. The fact the Andrea Doria floated for eleven hours after the collision with her port side out of the water indicated that she was not sinking because of the weight of water entering her hull. She was rolling over, capsizing. It was a terrible fate for so beautiful a ship.

It was 10 a.m. when the sea lapped over the bow, covering it for an instant and then washing away, only to surge up over the bow again. A minute later the rudder appeared completely out of the water. One minute later , the ship's single funnel bearing the red, white and green colors of Italy dipped beneath the waves and the sea flowed in. The struggle of the ship seems to end now, with increasing rapidity the body of the once proud ship is disappearing.

By 10:04 a.m. the Andrea Doria was completely on her side at a 90 degree angle to the sea, the water flowing fast into the giant ship along her entire length. One more minute and the ship was cut in half along her length, the starboard side of the ship gone beneath the waves. The three outdoor swimming pools, emptied earlier by the tilt of the ship, began taking water. The eight lifeboats on the port side hung rigidly and undisturbed. On nearby rescue ships, crewman and survivors crowded the rails to witness the end.

The port side going under. Nearly gone


The ship hovered there, and then the bow plunged under. Some of the portside lifeboats, but not all, tore free from the ship at the last and floated away with the long trail of debris that stretched upon the water. 

The round stern thrust up and out of the water, indecently uncovering the ship's rudder and twin propellers. It turns around on its own axis and for the last time you can read the large letters on the stern of the ship.

The final plunge into the sea.

She hung there in a final hesitation and then plunged beneath the waves on here right side, bow first. Her stern rose higher in the air and then was gone, sending a small fountain spray of sea water up toward the sky.

The final plunge tearing away the lifeboats. With only Andrea showing, the ship slips beneath the waves.

Some of the lifeboats, in which the crew had not released the falls, went down with the ship. Debris gushed from the sinking wreckage. It looked like crates and lifeboats.

Great bubbles mixed with heavy oil slick as the ship went down. The Andrea Doria disappeared from sight at 10:09, two miles southeast of where she and the Stockholm had collided exactly eleven hours earlier. The Andrea Doria, flagship of the Italian Line, had died. It was difficult for those who had passed so many pleasant hours on that great vessel to realize that it was gone forever, and with it all their clothes, possessions and valuables. When the wake had subsided over the sunken vessel and the only remains were the debris floating above it, they turned reluctantly to the problem of the living. 


 Debris and oil is all that is left.

The dark sea was marked with bright green effervescence 700 feet long. The violent bubbling continued for fifteen minutes as the remaining air escaped from the interior of the dead ship settling to rest on the sandy bottom 225 feet beneath the surface of the North Atlantic. All that was left was debris and oil. 

The bright sun was shining on the Atlantic, the ocean was peaceful and calm, and only the planes were circling over the grave of the Andrea Doria and those that she took to her grave.

An artist's rendition of the Andrea Doria "at the time of her sinking" laying on the floor of the ocean.  Illustration: Ken Marschall

In Italy the words from a gray bearded sea veteran said it all, "When a ship like this sinks, all the city weeps". Its as though a piece of Genoa was lost.

10:55 am Coast Guard Cutter: ANDREA DORIA SANK AT 10:09 AM.

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