On this day, some 57 years ago, the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge collapsed. Crane operators were trying to join two chords of an unfinished arch together, which resulted in several spans unexpectedly collapsing.
A total of 79 workers plunged into the water, 18 were killed instantly or shortly afterwards. Some reports say workers possibly drowned by the weight of their heavy tool belts. A diver searching for bodies drowned later, bringing the total fatalities for the collapse to 19.
In a subsequent Royal Commission Inquiry, the bridge collapse was attributed to miscalculation by bridge engineers. A temporary arm, holding the fifth anchor span, was deemed too light to bear the weight.
The bridge was renamed the Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing in 1994 to honour the 19 workers who died in the collapse, along with four others who also died during the construction process.
Here’s a news reel from that day.