TAMPA, Fla. — On Friday, May 9, 1980, the freighter Summit Venture, blinded by a storm, collided with the southbound extension of the Skyway Bridge.
- Kenny Alfonso to turn Skyway crash into documentary
- Alfonso says producers will tell story through eyes of captain's attorney
- Want to share your story? Visit the documentary's FB page.
The result caused a 1,200 foot span of the bridge to collapse into Tampa Bay eventually, taking the lives of 35 people travelling across the bridge.
Now, nearly 39 years later, producers are turning on of the worst disasters in the Tampa Bay area history into a documentary.
“We're telling the story through (the eyes of the captain’s lawyer Steve Yerrid), and of course all the people that were involved, from the state attorneys who investigated it, (and) other state legislators that were a part of building a new bridge,” said producer and director Kenny Alfonso.
A native of Tampa, Alfonso says he not only remembers the day of the tragedy, but he also remembers how the freighter’s captain John Lerro was treated in the aftermath.
“It tortured him,” Alfonso said. “Even though he was exonerated … you think how could you live with that? I don't know how I could have.”
Former Gov. Bob Graham oversaw the construction of the new Skyway Bridge that carries his name is taking part in the documentary. He hopes it serves as a reminder of lessons learned the hard way.
“Thirty-five people lost their lives,” Graham said. “Hundreds of thousands of people had their lives disrupted, but out of that tragedy, Tampa Bay got one of the great bridges of the world.”