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Ile de France

News Photo by Ed Hurley: The Ile de France arrives at Pier 88


bulletAudio interview by Italian Radio (RAI) with a survivor on board the Ile de France. The interview is in Italian and requires Real Player to hear it.

As the Ile de France came into sight in the Lower Bay, vessels in the Narrows began cheering her arrival with their whistles. Ships moored at berths on both sides of the river chimed in as the Ile de France moved majestically up the harbor, through the Upper Bay and into the Hudson River.

AP Wire: Ile de France docking at Pier 88 Survivors crowd the fantail as the Ile de France docks AP Wire: A group of survivors on the Ile de France fantail Life Magazine: Survivors looking out the windows on the Ile de France

Helicopters and planes dipped low over the 30 year old pride of the French Line as it maneuvered into its berth at Pier 88, West 48th Street and the Hudson River. At 5:30 p.m. the Ile de France swung around into its berth with its fantail jammed with people, waving frantically to the hundreds of waiting relatives and friends. Those who had not been injured lined the rails. One boy was wearing nothing but pajamas.  Several women were In bathing suits. 

Upon arrival, 10 ambulances were waiting in the vicinity of Pier 88, along with 100 policemen, the disaster unit from Bellevue Hospital and workers of the volunteer agencies. They pooled forces to give aid and comfort to the survivors but they were hamstrung, however, by several thousand persons who tried to force their way onto the pier. 

Ile de France docking at the pier. Photo: Courtesy of Steven Bibb 2 survivors arrive. Photo Courtesy of:  Giuseppe D'Urzo

"My husband Is aboard-I must see if he is all right.  Please, please, let me on the Pier." was a common wail from many women.  Many of these women forced their way through the police contingent.  But while they got on the Pier, they were kept a good distance from the ship.

On the east side of 12th Ave., on the northeast corner of 48th St., the police Communications Bureau set up a loudspeaker truck.  At the microphone was Patrolman Gasper Chiofalo, of the E. 51st St. Precinct, calling off the names of 168 Andrea Doria survivors who were to arrive later in the evening at Pier 84, four blocks south aboard the United Fruit Co. freighter Cape Ann.  Patrolman Chiofalo was picked because he was able to pronounce the names fluently, most of which were Italian. "Relatives of these survivors go to Pier 84 at 44th St.-don't wait here," he advised the 3,500 people crowded on 12th Ave. from 49th to 47th Sts.  Most stayed on.  

Cape Ann

At 7:28 pm The Cape Ann pulled into Pier 84 with her 168 survivors. About 100 relatives and friends managed to get on the pier, but were kept back behind rails.

Pvt. William H. Thomas

The Pvt. William H. Thomas was the last rescue ship to arrive for the day. The Stockholm was limping along under escort and would arrive the next morning. The scene on the Brooklyn pier was very quite with many praying the rosary. It was a frustrating day for loved ones traveling from pier to pier searching for their loved ones.
As the ship was tying up, those on the pier started crying and calling out names as they spotted their loved ones.

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Last modified: Tuesday, September 11, 2007