On July 25, 1956, near midnight, the Swedish liner Stockholm was coursing its way through the North Atlantic when it struck the Italian liner Andrea Doria. With its damaged ice-cutting prow, the Stockholm was able to limp its way back to shore, but not before it sent its lifeboats to rescue as many of the 1709 passengers of the heavily damaged and sinking Andrea Doria.
By the morning of the 26th, the Italian liner was still afloat, but listing badly. Other ships had answered the call for help and nearly all of the passengers were eventually rescued. Radio news reporter Douglas Edwards was asked to go in and provide a report on the damage. He arrived by plane just a few minutes before the liner sank below the surface and was able to provide a first-hand account of the death of one of the great ocean liners. Edwards paints a picture of disaster and death for us that radio brought to our homes.
The Stockholm's lifeboats were able to rescue over five hundred passengers. The Il de France which arrived in time was able to pick up another 753. Other ships also collected passengers. When it was over, only fifty people were counted dead. Fifty people and one ship.
Some rare footage of the maiden voyage of the Andrea Doria can be viewed here. The footage was digitized and transferred from original 16 mm film to DVD.
More detail on the history of the ship as well as the sinking can be found on the web site for the Andrea Doria maintained by Anthony Grillo