1980 Sunshine Skyway Bridge tragedy

- The Sunshine Skyway Bridge is an icon of the Tampa Bay area, but many new arrivals to Florida may be unaware of the tragedy that befell the span's predecessor.

It was on May 9, 1980 when the unthinkable happened: The freighter MV Summit Venture collided with a support column during a blinding thunderstorm, knocking a 1,200-foot section of the roadway into the water below.

Six cars, a truck, and a bus plunged 150 feet into Tampa Bay, killing 35 people.

After the replacement span was built, the original bridge's approaches were turned into fishing piers.

WTVT's crews covered the tragedy for hours from the land, the air, and even from the water -- a rare event in the days of limited newsgathering technology.

This video is our only surviving footage of the disaster.

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