Special to the Buffalo Evening News. Bayonne, N.J., May 10. - The skipper of the Hobson, who went down with his ship, ordered an abrupt change of course which brought him directly into the path of the carrier Wasp on the night of April 26, according to testimony Friday before a court of inquiry investigation the collision of the two ships.
The first witness before the court, sitting at the New York Naval Shipyard annex here, a few hundred feet from the drydock where the crippled carrier is being repaired, was Leiut. William A. Hoefer, Jr., senior surviving officer of the Hobson, which sank with 176 lives lost.
Leiut. Hoefer told the court he was junior officer of the deck of the Hobson. He said:
The Hobson was making 25 knots with clear visibility when he first sighted the Wasp off the port bow.
Skipper Leaped Off Bridge
Lieut. Commander William J. Tierney, the Hobson's skipper, first called a right turn and then ordered two successive left turns after the Wasp had signaled it was changing course so planes could land.
As the 34000 ton carrier rushed toward the Hobson at 27-knot speed, Lieut. Hoefer said Commander Tierney ordered an "all ahead emergency flank," all engines ahead at full power. Then Lieut. Hoefer said he himself shouted: "Stand by for collision."
About five seconds later, Lieut. Hoefer said, the bow of the Wasp cut the Hobson in half. Before he was swept overboard by the water, Lieut. Hoefer said, he saw Commander Tierney leap from the bridge.
Lieut. Hoefer, who was picked up 45 minutes later by the destroyer- minesweeper Rodman which, with the Hobson, had been escorting the Wasp, said the aircraft carrier's communications section warned that it was making a turn 158 degrees off the Hobson's left bow
Warned of Turn
He said Commander Tierney's first order of "right standard rutter" would have made the Hobson turn in the same direction as the carrier but at a considerable distance away from the big flat-top.
Less than 2 minutes later Lieut. Hoefer said, Commander Tierney called for "left standard rudder."
"I stepped into the wheelhouse to see if it would clear the Wasp" Lieut. Hoefer said, "It appeared she would pass about 800 yards to port at our closed point of approach."
The Wasp was about 1240 yards away when Commander Tierney again ordered left standard rudder, Lieut. Hoefer said. Then, as the Wasp had narrowed the distance between the two ship to about 750 yards, Commander Tierney called for the "all ahead emergency flank."
Within a few seconds, the Wasp
and Hobson collided.
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