Little is known of the specific effects of exposure to traumatic death, an important dimension of many disasters. This study examined acute and long-term intrusive and avoidant symptoms, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in disaster workers exposed to traumatic death after the USS Iowa gun turret explosion. Fifty-four volunteer body handlers were assessed at 1, 4, and 13 months. They were compared with 11 non-body handler disaster worker volunteers. The Impact of Events Scale, Zung Depression Scale, Symptom Checklist-90-Revised, and a multi-method assessment of PTSD were used. Intrusive and avoidant symptoms were elevated at 1, 4, and 13 months, and decreased over time. Probable PTSD was present in 11% at 1 month, 10% at 4 months, and 2% at 13 months. The frequency of depression was not increased. Single body handler disaster workers reported more avoidance (times 1 and 2) and somatization (time 1) than did married workers. Body handlers reported more intrusion, avoidance, hostility, and somatization at 1 month than did non-body handler volunteers. These results indicate that exposure to traumatic death increases intrusive and avoidant symptoms, hostility, somatization, and the risk of PTSD and that symptoms can persist for months.