Disasters
9:00 am
Wed October 23, 2013

Remembering The Sunshine Skyway Bridge Collapse of 1980

Richard Hornbuckle's car rests where it skidded to a stop just 14 inches from the edge of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, which was struck by a freighter on May 9, 1980.
Credit ERIC MENCHER | St. Pete Times (1980)

 

This is the actual Mayday call pilot John Lerro made to the Coast Guard on May 9, 1980 when the Summit Venture hit the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

On May 9, 1980, tragedy struck Tampa Bay when a 600-ft cargo ship struck the Sunshine Skyway Bridge causing a segment of the bridge to collapse.    Seven cars and a Greyhound bus fell over the edge and 35 people died. We speak with writer Bill DeYoung about his new book, “Skyway: The True Story of Tampa Bay's Signature Bridge and the Man Who Brought It Down,” covering the state of the bridge prior, details about the tragedy, its aftermath, and the man who was piloting the ship when it struck the bridge.

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