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May 9, 1980 – Skyway Bridge disaster
This Day

May 9, 1980 – Skyway Bridge disaster

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 Venture collided with the bridge's support columns during a sudden squall. The impact caused a 1,200 foot span of the bridge to collapse into the water. Six cars, a truck, and a Greyhound bus fell 150 feet into the water, resulting in the deaths of 35 people. Above: The collapsed bridge and ship shortly after the collision. Via Tampa Bay Times.Top image via Tampa Bay Times. Harbor pilot John Lerro wa...