October 5, 1987 – Day 4 and the earth kept shaking around Southern California. In what became known as the Whittier Narrows Earthquake, scores of aftershocks kept nervous Angelenos running for doorways and staying out of their houses and apartments. And every time an aftershock hit, another building would be damaged or an already damaged building would crumble. A lot of frayed nerves and a lot of sleepless nights, and nobody knew for how long.
And if that weren’t enough, L.A. was having a searing heat wave, with temperatures inching upwards to 108. Normally, it would signal a retreat to the nearest air-conditioned room – but since there were such widespread power outages from the earthquake, a goodly percentage of people in L.A. just baked, making everything an ordeal. But a simple fact of life in Los Angeles, and in Southern California in general – we have earthquakes, and have had them for hundreds of years.
But there was more happening on this October 5th. Since it was the first Monday of October, it also meant the first meeting of The Supreme Court, which was short one justice, as confirmation hearings and controversies over Robert Bork continued. With each passing day, the likelihood of Bork being confirmed was growing more dim, and all eyes were on President Reagan to come up with another candidate.
In the Persian Gulf, it was open season on Oil Tankers with the latest victims, two tankers, one the largest in the world. The Seawise and The Shining Star were both hit by Iraqi warplanes in the Straits of Hormuz. No word on damage but reports claimed one of the tankers was on fire. Meanwhile, an Iranian ship claiming to be a warship continued to challenge passing ships throughout the day in the Southern Gulf. The Iranians stopped a Danish Container vessel earlier that morning and searched it, finally allowing it to proceed.
And that’s a small slice of what went on this October 5, 1987 as reported by The CBS World News Roundup.