skyway bridge collapse disaster

collapse disaster

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updated: 05.18.20
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05.17.20, John Morrison, Venice, FL., My brother and I were on our way to work from Parrish to St. Pete the morning of May 9, 1980. It was a rainy, windy Friday. We went over the bridge and at the top it was shaking pretty hard and rocking back and forth. My brother said, “What would you do if the bridge fell down?”
We made it to the job site and work was postponed due to the rain, so we picked up our checks and headed home. We paid the 50 cent toll and as we pulled away from the toll booth the toll collector ran after us waving her arms and yelling at us, “Stop, STOP!” “Why? We paid.” I said. Her eyes wide, she caught her breath and said, “The bridge just fell down.”

05.27.18, Charlene Collins, Hickory, I've just run across this page 38 years after my father, Charles Lewis Collins, died in the Skyway Bride accident. I was 16 at the time and was up getting ready for school. We only had one bathroom so I had to wait for daddy as he was getting ready to go to a business breakfast meeting in Bradenton for work that morning. I know we must have talked but I can't remember what we said sadly. Still all these years later he is missed by me and his brothers and sisters. That day changed my life forever. Thanks for reading this. (we can not imagine how that day affected you and your family. truly sorry for your loss and how it occurred.)

05.09.18, Dana C., facebook, I was on that bridge when it happened. I was w my parents, brother & sister on our way to granny’s house on vacation. We were the 3rd car behind the gray hound bus that was rocking back & forth before it went off into the ocean below. I was standing n the back seat & looking out the window. I could see & hear the people n the car that was falling into the ocean yelling & screaming for help. I was 5 years old.

12.08.16, Steve S., I boarded a Greyhound bus in Gainesville which I believe to be the one that went off of the Skyway Bridge. I was on the way to Naples Florida where my parents lived. I got on the bus, then had a change of mind. I rarely went to class, yet didn't want to take criticism for not being in school in the middle of the week. I got off the bus and returned my ticket for a loss. Then next morning my roommates told me about the disaster. Just looking at your site, so thought you might like this info.

05.10.11, Tara H., Boston, MA., facebook, My grandfather, Robert D. Harding of Glens Falls, NY, was riding the Greyhound bus which fell into the bay. My Mother, an only child, learned of the loss of her father on the evening (late?) news that Mother's Day. My grandfather was returning home after a job of driving someone's (who chose to fly) car to Florida. The next day, my parent's picked us up early from school and we traveled to the hospital to tell my grandmother, who was recovering from a heart attack in the ICU. I was ten years old and vividly remember being told as I sat at the kitchen table. I started crying while staring at the cover of a math text book. The image of that book always comes to mind. This was experience with the death of a family member. At the wake/funeral I learned that the casket was closed because his body was contained in an insert inside. I vaguely remember my Mother calling it a ziggy. ... Thank you for letting me share.

02.10.08, jay, found on a blog since removed, Posted on 05/11/2007, My father is one of the passengers who died on the Greyhoud bus. "Melborne Russell" My mother and I were depicted in the Book named "Bridge Down" by Mair, George. I remember the day, 9 years old sitting in front of the coin operated television. Hearing the breaking news of the large freight ship hitting the bridge. My mother sobbing and screaming, the Greyhound attendant trying to console her. It was a defining moment in my life. My mother never remarried and I lost a father forever. As I grew older the bridge has always been apart of me. I was the first to cross the new bridge when they had a 3 mile grand opening foot race to memorialize the bridge. My company did Balance testing on the new bridge. My friend of many years lost his wife to suicide on the bridge. Another friend Lost his son to the bridge in a Romeo and Juliet style suicide. I caught a 7' hammerhead under the bridge. I suppose when it is time for me to leave this earth. What a more fitting way than for me to take my last (jay's post ends abruptly.)

09.13.05, Jay R., Sarasota, My father died on this bridge when I was 7, His name was Melbourne Russell, He was a passenger on the Greyhound bus coming from chicago when the Summit Venture hit the bridge. My Mother and I never were close, I was raised by my aunt. Well she has passed and I am trying to find as much info about my father as possible. The only Picture I have seen of him is when he was being pulled from the water by coast guard divers. He has the Black buckled boots. Every time i have searched I come to this site. I am having a hard time finding Information. I don't even know where he was buried. If anyone could help i would appreciate it. melissa and dave respond:
12.03.05, Melissa, Dallas, TX., This information is for Jay R., who was seeking more information about his father who died in the 1980 Skyway bridge accident. A quick search of the Social Security Death Index revealed that his father's full name was Melborn Leon Russell, born 16 Feb 1942 and had the Social Security Number [number withheld], applied for in Illinois. He can request a certified copy of his father's death certificate from the Florida Department of Health for $5.00 (including shipping; expedited shipping is available for an extra fee). Further information on it can be found at I took a quick look at Find-A-Grave but it didn't turn anything up on where he's buried. (we passed this on to jay. thank you.)
12.30.07, Dave B., The following information is for Jay Russell (posted 9-13-05), son of one Melbourne L. Russell who perished in the 5-9-80 Sunshine bridege tragedy as a rider on a Greyhound Bus. Please follow the link here- summitventure pdf file Go to page number 7 of 26 in the pdf attachment. Your father was Married to one Julia Ann Russell. The body was sent to Sarasota Funeral Home @ 3340 Bee Ridge Rd. Sarasota, FL. His body was cremated by the Seacoast Crematory in Sarasota. Perhaps, this information will allow you to search records of these businesses and help you find closure.. May God bless you in your search and fill the void you are looking to fill. (we tried to pass this on to jay, but it was returned 'undeliverable'. perhaps he will check back here and update his email address. thank you.)

photos  •  videos  •  articles: 1980 / 1981-99 / 2000-
the victims  •  memorial  •  documentary  •  books
comments  •  other skyway/boat collisions  •  sitemap
your thoughts or memories about the disaster
top of this page  •  home  •  additions/contact
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