Saturday 7 March 1987

…DISASTER!
Yesterday at 7pm a ferry was leaving the Belgian port of Zubrigge [sic].
Just one mile out of the harbour it is thought to have hit something under the water
and capsized on to its side.
It is already being labelled as one of the most terrible sea disasters ever.
All round the harbour every boat was sent to the rescue, including divers in
RAF planes, HMS I’ve forgotten the name, tugs, police, ambulances and all
their services were called and sent.
And the worst thing was that it was at night – see map at bottom.
Witnesses said it all went, people started screaming and then came icy water.
Saturday Superstore started late.
The figures so far: 409 alive, 79 missing, 49 dead.
The prime minister has visited the scene and so have
the Duke and Duchess of York – they all said it was a terrible tragedy…

It was rare for me to include so much reportage in my diaries. I even drew a rather clumsy map:

Insert "ro-ro" gag here

There’s also this, in one of my school exercise books. I don’t think the intent was 100% respectful:

Bow doors not pictured

That’s not my writing, by the way. Except the correction. Naturally.

9 thoughts on “Saturday 7 March 1987

  1. I remember watching television when a newsflash came up about the disaster. It was the first time I had ever seen a newsflash (in fact, I think it is still the only time I have seen a “newsflash” in that sense, in that they interrupt the programme and go to a man at a desk who tells you what’s happened and then return to the programme – rather than rolling out three weeks of uninterupted BBC News 24 reportage).

    I think it was Blind Date we were watching – actually no it can;t have been as Dad was there. It was definitely ITV anyway!

    • The ferry sank at 6.30pm on the evening of Friday 6 March, so I’m not sure what you would’ve been watching when the news broke a short while later on ITV. Play Your Cards Right?

  2. there were a couple of ferrys that went over around that time, I remember on being near to felexstow and going down to the beach and being able to see it stiricken in the water. II remember the ferry you are talking about, I believe it sank because the captain set sail with the doors open at the back.

  3. I’m afraid my main memory of the Herald of Free Enterprise is all the fun I had recreating it in the bath with a Lego ferry and lots of ill-fated minifigures.

  4. Obviously this report includes the most important aspect of this tragedy as far as I was concerned, Saturday Superstore starting late. I’m afraid I was of the age that this was the only part that mattered to me and told me it was in any way important. I was so thrilled when Mike Read mentioned it on It Started With Swap Shop.

    • I’ve got the Radio Times for this particular week. I wonder who got the chop: Mel and Kim; Karen Foster’s new fashion ideas with fabric paints; Phillip Hodson and his Growing Pains; the final of the SuperStore Supermoggie competition; or Vicky Licorish with “a selection of your home-produced videos”?

      • When Infax was available to the public they had the entire running order for this episode online, I can’t remember what went missing from the 10am start but I do recall that the Delivery Van was in Wigan.

  5. If they had any sense Vicky Licorish and Karen Foster. Dropping Mel and Kim is a no no and and dropping the Superstore Supermoggie competition a sacrilege as it’s the Final for meows sake!!!

  6. I was watching Number 73 on the Saturday. For some reason they were doing the episode on location at some Godforsaken seaside town and being that it was March, no one was there. Most of the action took place in a seedy looking cafe and they had a 20 minute break at one point to go to an ITN news update on the disaster.

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