On 26 October 1942 President Coolidge (the liner, not the politician) was accidentally sunk by mines. No lives were lost, but a tourist attraction was born.
In 1942, President Coolidge, formerly of Dollar Steamship Lines and American President Lines, was a troopship serving in the Pacific Theatre of World War II. On 26 October 1942, she entered the harbor of Espiritu Santo, at the time a military base in the South Pacific. Sadly, vital facts concerning safe entry into the harbor had been accidentally omitted from Coolidge’s sailing orders. As the vessel approached the harbor, a “friendly” mine struck the ship’s hull near the engine room. Soon thereafter, a second mine exploded near her stern. The captain, acting quickly and decisively, intentionally ran President Coolidge aground and ordered the troops to abandon ship.
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