Saturday marks 40 years since the 19,734-ton Summit Venture freighter slammed into the old Skyway bridge. Six cars, a truck and a Greyhound bus plummeted 150 feet into the choppy waters of Tampa Bay below. Thirty-five died.
The Skyway disaster remains one of the most tragic in Florida history.
40 years after the Skyway bridge disaster, divers can’t forget what they saw underwater
Diver Robert Raiola is still haunted by that stormy morning he and his partner, Michael Betz, spent pulling bodies from the water.
For nearly four decades, their story was untold. Now Raiola wants their grandchildren to know what they saw. Read the story here.
The first Skyway bridge opened 66 years ago. It was a triumph. Then came the tragedy.
Here’s the origin story behind the iconic bridge, from its opening day to the stormy morning of May 9, 1980. Read it here.
What happened to those who made headlines after the Skyway bridge accident?
Read more on the pilot who crashed, the attorney who defended him and some of those who nearly lost their lives 40 years ago.
See historic photos from the Sunshine Skyway bridge disaster
We combed through the Times archives to share jaw-dropping images from the historic day. View the gallery here.
Here’s what readers remember from the day the Skyway bridge fell
The foggy morning of May 9, 1980, left strong memories that have stayed with many readers. Read some of those memories here.
At the scene of the Skyway Bridge collapse, detachment gave way to grim reality
Read a column from Times CEO and chairman Paul Tash, who covered the Skyway Bridge disaster as a 25-year-old reporter. He recalls wondering if what he was seeing through his binoculars was real or an optical illusion.
The 35 victims of the 1980 Sunshine Skyway Bridge Disaster:
Michael Curtin, 43, of Apollo Beach
Duane Adderly, 21, of Miami
Louis Lucas Jr., 62, of Dolomite, Ala.
Yvonne Johnson, 22, of Perrine
Manesha McGarrah, 7 months, of Tallahassee
Wanda McGarrah, 24, of Tallahassee
Sharon Dixon, 21, of Miami
Myrtle Brown, 58, of St. Johns, Newfoundland
Willis Brown, 57, of St. Johns, Newfoundland
Aubrey Hudson, 62, of St. Johns, Newfoundland
Phyllis Hudson, 58, of St. Johns, Newfoundland
John Carlson, 47, of Pinellas Park
Doris Carlson, 42, of Pinellas Park
Tawana McClendon, 20, of Palmetto
Charles Collins, 40, of Tampa
Leslie Coleman Jr., 52, of St. Petersburg
James Pryor, 42, of Seminole
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John Callaway Jr., 19, of Miami
Horace Lemmons, 47, of Kings Mountain, N.C.
Gerda Hedquist, 92, of Charlotte Harbor
Louise Johnson, 59, of Cataula, Ga.
Melborne Russell, 38, of Chicago, Iill.
Robert Harding, 63, of Glens Falls, N.Y.
Alphonso Blidge, 22, of Miami
Marguerite Mathison, 82, of St. Petersburg
Sandra Davis, 34, of Boardman
Hildred Dietch, 73, of St. Petersburg
Harry Dietch, 68, of St. Petersburg
Lillian Loucks, 69, of Winnipeg, Manitoba
Ann Pondy, 57, of Winnipeg, Manitoba
Brenda Green, 19, of Miami
Delores Smith, 50, of Pennsville, N.J.
Robert Smith, 37, of Pennsville, N.J.
Laverne Daniels, 20, of Miami
Woodrow Triplett, 33, of Bainbridge, Ga.