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May 9, 1980 – Skyway Bridge disaster
This Day

May 9, 1980 – Skyway Bridge disaster

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 the freighter Summit Venture on May 9, 1980. The freighter rammed the southbound span of the bridge, collapsing a 1,200 foot length of the bridge and sending several cars and a Greyhound bus into the water. Thirty-five people died. Tampa Bay Times photo by Dick Bell. The original Sunshine Skyway Bridge, spanning more than four miles between St. Petersburg, Florida to Terra Ceia, opened in 1956 as a two lane road. In 1971, a second section opened, bringing the lane count to four. To many, it represented an engineering marvel, for ship captains, it became a hazard in Tampa Bay. That hazard proved deadly on this day in 1980 when the freighter MV Summit ...

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