Lone Survivor
This is the type of small truck (Ford Courier) that Wes MacIntire was driving that morning.
The only survivor of the fall from the bridge was a WW2 veteran who previously survived the D-Day invasion of Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944. Wesley Maclntyre, 56, of Gulfport was unable to stop his truck as the bridge collapsed. Recalled Mclntyre of his miraculous escape: "The bridge was swaying. I could see the ship, and the end of the bridge was breaking off. I couldn't stop. I just slid and then I hit the ship and dropped into the water. The next thing I remember I was in the water, and I managed to get the door open. I started swimming to the surface, and I finally made it." On board the bow of the Summit Venture, the lone lookout who remained at his post, survived the bridge spanís collapse by ducking between two huge stanchions and crawled out from beneath the 90 feet of roadbed that came to rest only inches above his head. Crew members on the Summit Venture pulled MacIntire up onto the ship. In 1984, MacIntire received a settlement for $175,000 but after paying legal expenses and debts for being out of work for four years he was left with only about $75,000. After the new Skyway bridge was finished, the old Skyway bridge was demolished but not before Wes MacIntire and his wife were the last persons permitted to drive over it, stopping at the top to drop 35 white carnations into the water, one for each person who lost their lives on the morning of May 9th, 1980. The horrors of that day made the rest of his life somewhat emotionally difficult. He passed away from bone cancer on October 14th, 1989. He was 65.
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