Story:  The Sunshine Skyway Bridge Disaster

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On May 9, 1980, 35 people died when the freighter, Summit Venture, sailing blind, without radar, and barely able to navigate in the stormy conditions, took out a 300 meter section of the old steel Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

The old steel bridge was almost the same height as the new one, shown in this picture.  In the blinding rain, drivers could not see well, and the victims plunged almost 300 feet into the water.

This article is from the St.  Pete Times, twenty years ago.  It will make a good read for anyone who drives over the bridge.  http://www.sptimes.com/News/050700/TampaBay/Horrific_accident_cre.shtml

This photo of the cruise ship, Brilliance of the Seas, was taken as a souvenir shot.  We sailed under the new bridge on our way out to cruise the Caribbean.  You can see that the biggest of bridges would be no match for the size and weight of a large ship.

You can see the concrete bumpers which surround the vulnerable spots of the new bridge.  They are supposed to prevent a large ship from hitting the supports.  Not everyone believes that they would be 100% effective, and some people dislike crossing the bridge when there is a ship going under.

Posted May 10, 2016 at 9:37 am.