The wreckage of the Piper Alpha oil production platform burns in the North Sea. - Gulf News Archive Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

167 killed in North Sea rig inferno

1988 - At least 170 men were feared killed in what could be the North Sea’s worst oil disaster after an explosion and fire tore apart an offshore rig. A police spokesman said he believed most of the 167 missing had been killed by the blast, which struck the Piper Alpha rig while many of the 232-strong crew were asleep. Others died after jumping 200 feet into the sea. “A number of bodies have been picked up in the area and are being brought to an emergency mortuary in Aberdeen,” he said. A spokesman for the coast guard said he believed it was almost totally destroyed.

July 6

1785 - The dollar is unanimously chosen as the monetary unit for the United States.

1907 - The world’s first purpose-built motor-racing track opens at Brooklands, Surrey.

1923 - Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is formed.

1928 - The first all-talking motion picture, The Lights of New York, is shown in New York.

1952 - The last trams in London are withdrawn from service.

1984 - Eight Sikh hijackers of an Indian Airlines flight free all 256 hostages, ending a 20-hour drama.

1988 - A Pakistan air force jet fighter crashes into a factory and explodes in a busy area of Karachi, killing 14 people.

1990 - Nato allies pledge to reduce both nuclear and conventional forces in Europe.

2002 - Afghan vice-president Haji Abdul Qadeer is assassinated.

2006 - India and China reopen a famed Silk Road pass in the Himalayas.

2017 - Sharjah is named World Book Capital for 2019 by Unesco.