Sunshine Skyway Bridge Disaster 35 Years Later
It was Friday, May 9, 1980 at 7:33 a.m. when the freighter Summit Venture rammed into the Sunshine Skyway Bridge during a severe storm. The roadway above crashed into the waters of Tampa Bay. Though the blinding rain, drivers in the southbound lanes were unable to see the missing roadway ahead. Six cars, a truck, and a Greyhound Bus plunged into the waters below, and 35 people were killed.
This week on Florida Matters, we take a look back at the Skyway disaster with Bill DeYoung, the author of “Skyway: The True Story of Tampa Bay's Signature Bridge and the Man Who Brought It Down.” We also hear from co-pilot trainee Bruce Atkins, who was on his last training mission and was alongside Captain John Lerro that morning; and Bill Covert, who led the search and rescue team from nearby Eckerd College.
Tuesday at 6:30 PM | Sunday at 7:30 AM on WUSF 89.7
Monday at 10:00 PM on WSMR 89.1
Robin Trohn Sussingham is a reporter and program host at WUSF Public Broadcasting, and is the producer of Florida Matters. She came to WUSF from public radio stations KUER and KCPW in Utah, has contributed stories to NPR and Marketplace, and also has an extensive background in print reporting. She was born in Lakeland and often reports about Polk County.
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