Sunshine Skyway Bridge Disaster: May 9, 1980


The worst bridge disaster in Florida history occured when an errant ship struck a major support of the southbound lane during a storm. The main span toppled into Tampa Bay. 35 people lost their lives.

Published September 30, 2013 in History - MetroJacksonville.com





Coast Guard Radio channel recording of the Mayday call from the Summit Venture.



A local news report details the aftermath of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge disaster on May 9, 1980 in Tampa Bay. 35 people were killed when a 600-foot freighter collided with a bridge support column at 7:30 a.m., causing 1,200 feet of bridge to fall into the bay.


The original span of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge before the twin bridge was built. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory


An automobile narrowly avoids plunging into the bay after the bridge collapsed. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory


A 1200 foot section of the Skyway Bridge fell into the Bay. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory



The original steel cantilever Sunshine Skyway bridge was opened to traffic on September 6, 1954, one year and five months after Jacksonville's Mathews Bridge opened.


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