1982

Photo of the Day

Steve Callahan was 30 and sailing the Atlantic alone when his 21ft sloop was hit by a whale and sank in a storm.

Adrift on a raft in the Atlantic for 76 days

‘I got scared by the thought I’d be dead in a few hours; I found a way to fix the raft and it felt like the biggest victory of my life’

On the night of January 29, 1982, Steven Callahan set sail alone in his small sailboat from the Canary Islands bound for the Caribbean. On February 5, the ship sank in a storm, leaving Callahan adrift in the Atlantic in a five-and-a-half-foot inflatable rubber raft. Naked except for a t-shirt, with only three pounds of food, a few pieces of gear and eight pints of water, Callahan drifted for 76 days, and over 1,800 miles of ocean, before he reached land and rescue in the Bahamas.

Steven Callahan was a  young man from Maine with adventure in his heart. He realized his dream and sailed his own design 21 foot sailboat across the Atlantic from Newport to Bermuda, then on to England. His return from England would be with a race called the Mini-Transat and would complete a circumnavigation of the treacherous Atlantic by returning him to Antigua in the West Indies. At least, that was the plan. Little did he know how bad his plans would turn on the trip back west.

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Photo Of The Day

Photo:AP Photo/Nancy Kaye. David Letterman at the taping of his first talk-comedy hour "Late Night with David Letterman" with guest Bill Murray, February 1, 1982 in New York.

Photo:AP Photo/Nancy Kaye.
David Letterman at the taping of his first talk-comedy hour “Late Night with David Letterman” with guest Bill Murray, February 1, 1982 in New York.

How Bill Murray Went Missing

During Letterman’s First Episode

Here’s where it all began: Murray’s interview as the first guest ever on NBC’s Late Night with David Letterman. In his typical sardonic fashion, he makes fun of Dave, explains that he regrets not strangling Richard Nixon when he had the opportunity, has a humorous mental breakdown, shows off a short film he made in his backyard about a panda bear named “Cancun” that was forced to work in a Chinese restaurant, and ends the whole thing by doing aerobics while singing Olivia Newton John’s “Physical.”

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Maggie was right

In a famous interview with a bossy school teacher Margaret Thatcher told everyone they would have to wait 30 years for evidence about the sinking of the General Belgrano to come out.

Just as she said 30 years later the evidence is starting to come out.

For decades debate and recrimination has raged over where the ship was heading when it was torpedoed by a Royal Navy submarine.

Britain received international criticism after the sinking after the Argentine Junta announced that the warship had been returning to its home port and was outside the 200 mile exclusion zone imposed by Whitehall.

But Major David Thorp, who spent 34 years working as a signals expert in military intelligence, has disclosed for the first time that he was asked to carry out a trawl of all the intelligence on the sinking at the direct request of Margaret Thatcher a few months after the end of the war.

He was ordered to compile a report for the Prime Minister called “The Sinking of the Belgrano” that has never been published.

From his own signals intercepts and those from other Government agencies, he proved that the Argentine cruiser was heading into the exclusion zone.

Thatcher didn’t say anything and tied it all up in the Official Secret Act because she clearly didn’t want the Argies to know that Britain could read and decipher their signals.

The report states that in late April 1982, they intercepted a message sent from naval headquarters ordering the Belgrano and its escorts to a grid reference within the exclusion zone and not back to base as the Argentines later claimed.

The Belgrano was sunk by two torpedoes fired by the hunter-killer submarine Conqueror on May 2 with the loss of 323 lives a number of miles outside the exclusion zone.

“For some reason they decided on a rendezvous point still within the exclusion zone,” Major Thorp said. “Whether they were trying to raise a thumb at us I don’t know. At the time I thought it was strange thinking why didn’t they go straight into port?”

Maggie Thatcher was right to order the sinking of the Belgrano. Now that 30 years has elapsed the evidence can begin to come out.