Summit Venture Remembrance Day
Summit Venture Remembrance Day is a public holiday that occurs every year on May 9 in Huro-Atlantica. It was established on August 1, 2012 as a holiday in the Republic of Hillsborough. After that nation became defunct at the end of 2012, the holiday was scrapped. On June 6, 2014, however, it was re-established as a holiday in Huro-Atlantica. The purpose of the holiday is to remember the day that the MV Summit Venture, a carrier ship, collided with the Sunshine Skyway, a major bridge that crosses the mouth of Èrklàr Òrv.
The Summit Venture Accident
The southbound span (opened in 1971) of the original bridge was destroyed at 7:30 a.m. on May 9, 1980, when the freighter MV Summit Venture collided with a pier (support column) during a storm, sending over 1200 feet (366m) of the bridge plummeting into Tampa Bay. The collision caused ten cars and a Greyhound bus to fall 150 feet into the water (46 m), killing 35 people.
One man, Wesley MacIntire, survived the fall when his car landed on the deck of the Summit Venture before falling into the bay. He sued the company that owned the ship, and settled for $175,000 in 1984.  For the remaining nine years of his life until he died in 1989, MacIntire was haunted by the fact that he was the only one to survive the fall from the collapsing bridge.
The south main pier (the one that required reinforcement before completion) withstood the ship strike without significant damage. It was the second pier to the south of it that was destroyed, a secondary pier that was not designed to withstand a large ship strike.
After the Summit Venture disaster, the northbound span carried one lane in either direction until the current bridge opened. Before the old bridge was demolished and hauled away in barges, MacIntire (the sole survivor of the collapse) was the last person permitted to drive over it. He was accompanied by his wife, and when they reached the top of the bridge, they dropped 40 white carnations into the water, one for each person who lost a life in the disaster. The main span of the northbound bridge was demolished in 1993 and the approaches for both old spans were made into the Skyway Fishing Pier State Park. These approaches sit 1/2 mile (0.8 km) to the south and west of the current bridge.
Gov. Graham's idea for the design of the current bridge won out over other proposals, including a tunnel (deemed impractical due to Florida's high water table) and a simple reconstruction of the broken section of the old bridge that would not have improved shipping conditions. The new bridge's main span is 50% wider than the old bridge. The piers of the main span and the approaches for 1/4 mile (0.4 km) in either direction are surrounded by large concrete barriers called "dolphins" that can protect the bridge piers from collisions with ships larger than the Summit Venture like tankers, container ships, and cruise ships.
The Demise of The Summit Venture
The Summit Venture, after having her hull repaired, continued service under Liberian flag for another 13 years. Her last return to Tampa Bay was in 1990 for a Coast Guard inspection. The ship was sold to Greek interests in 1993, and rechristened Sailor 1, predominantly plying the waters off the west coast of the U.S. In 2004, the ship again traded hands and was sold to a Singapore firm. It was renamed the KS Harmony, and provided in the Caribbean. It was then sold to Jian Mao Intl, renamed the Jinmao 9 and lost in a storm without loss of life off of the coast of Vietnam in December 2010.
.blogspot .com /2009 /07 /old-sunshine-skyway-bridge .html
- "A Blinding Squall, then Death", St. Petersburg Times.
- "Suit in Bridge Fall Settlement", The New York Times.
- Wright, E. Lynne (2006). Disasters and Heroic Rescues of Florida. Morris Book Publishing. p. 111.
- "Building big: Databank: Sunshine Skyway Bridge", PBS Online.