Original source: http://www.glynn.k12.ga.us/~pwilliam/BHS/academics/junior/gunning/jarettem14037/home.html

Sidney Lanier Bridge Accident


photo courtesy of Brunswick Newspaper

 Sidney Lanier Bridge

On November 7, 1972, the African Neptune crashed into the Sidney Lanier Bridge. The bridge is located in downtown Brunswick, Georgia. The operator of the bridge, Roscoe Tanner said that after he raised the drawn span the ship didn't negotiate the opening. Tanner also said that the ship noticed that it was heading into the bridge so the ship dropped its anchor, but the anchor failed to hold. The African Neptune missed the opening by 300-400 feet. When the ship hit the bridge, it knocked several spans apart. Ten to fifteen automobiles fell into the water when the spans fell apart.

 When I interviewed my father about the incident, he said he was very shocked; he could not believe that the bridge had been knocked down. He was around twenty years old when it happened and had just started college. He said he remembered reading that at least eleven bodies were found after the crash. The state of Georgia sued the Neptune for $2 million dollars and charged that the Neptune: (1) was sailing at an "immoderate rate of speed" when it left the Brunswick harbor to make its approach to the bridge, (2) failed to keep her required position within the channel, (3) failed to stop or reverse her engine when the danger of collision was apparent, and (4) and the ship "failed to do anything to avoid the collision."

     Looking back, my dad said that the accident could have been avoided. He still doesn't know that much about the situation. Over all, the entire interview went very well. When I asked my dad if I could interview him, he was very happy. The thing that I learned from this is that it really did happened. At first I did not know that the Sidney Lanier Bridge had been damaged. I am glad that there is a new bridge that is bigger and maybe safer.


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