Navy Reports 57-Minute Error in Cole Attack Explosion
By Steven Hara
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 20, 2000 The Oct. 12 explosion that ripped the destroyer USS Cole in Aden, Yemen, occurred nearly an hour earlier than originally thought, according to Navy officials.
The officials said Oct 20 that the ship's records place the terrorist bomb blast at 11:18 a.m. rather than 12:15 p.m., as the Navy previously reported. Yemeni time is seven hours ahead of New York. The officials said the Cole completed mooring operations at 9:30 a.m. Refueling started at 10:30 a.m. and was ongoing at the time of the attack.
Officials said earlier Navy reports were based on unconfirmed initial voice and relayed reports from the Cole. "The explosion caused the Cole to lose power and disabled all onboard communications," officials said Oct. 20. "As is often the case, these initial relayed reports contained some errors, and in some cases were misunderstood back here."
The attack on the Cole tore a 40-by-40-foot waterline hole in the portside hull amidships. Seventeen sailors died in the explosion and more than 35 were injured. All the dead have been recovered. The Navy held a special Oct. 18 memorial service for the fallen at Naval Station Norfolk, Va., the Cole's home port.
U.S. teams are in Yemen to investigate the attack and to identify the perpetrators. Defense Secretary William Cohen also announced his formation of a force protection panel Oct. 19 that will review the attack and formulate lessons learned for future guidance. The panel co-chairmen are retired Army Gen. William Crouch and Navy Adm. Harold Gehman.