Silver Bridge Collapse 45th Anniversary on Saturday

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For years, we have spoken to family and friends of victims of the tragedy residents of the Point Pleasant-Gallipolis area have never forgotten.

And in one case, in 2007, we spoke to a woman who just missed being on the bridge when it collapsed, killing 46 people.

"There, for such a long time, I had survivors' guilt, because I thought, 'why me, there were so many'?," Charlene Wood told us. "But it just wasn't my time, I know that now."

And those who were not in traffic have equally vivid memories. Ruth Fout was just ending her work day, just two blocks from the bridge approach.

"My car was parked at the base of the bridge. I remember well the lights went off in my office, and we heard a noise, and we didn't know what it was at the time. But my supervisor's husband said, 'the bridge just fell'.""

Fout and her sister, Martha, are two of the authors of a just-released book, "The Silver Bridge Collapse of 1967", including photographs and first-person accounts of the disaster. They also work at the Point Pleasant River Museum, where an exhibit on the collapse nearly takes up the building's second floor. Released on October first, it just went into its second printing.

As is the case with many a community, Point Pleasant is decorated for the holiday season. But what happened close to this site 45 years ago has brought sadness to go along with the joy.

"Those of us who were alive when it was standing and crossed it all the time," Fout says "I guess it has a bigger meaning to us than for those who just know it from a story."

The book, and the exhibit, are reminders to those born since and around 1967, of a tragedy their ancestors can never forget.


On December 15, 1967, the Silver Bridge spanning the Ohio River at Point Pleasant, just an hour from Parkersburg, collapsed with 37 vehicles on the bridge.

31 vehicles went down with the bridge, killing 46 people.

21 people escaped injury or were rescued from the river.

Federal, state and local organizations worked 16 days during the rescue and recovery operation.

An observance is scheduled for Saturday at the Point Pleasant History Museum, and the West Virginia Encyclopedia will include a special feature about the Silver Bridge collapse that day as well.


(AP) --The director of a museum in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, is working to preserve the accounts of witnesses to one of the worst bridge disasters in American history.

Saturday, December 15th, marks the 40th anniversary of the Silver Bridge collapse, which killed 46 people.

Jack Fowler of the Point Pleasant River Museum is videotaping interviews with residents who remember that day, including witnesses and people who were on the bridge when it fell.

Fowler says it's important to get the testimony recorded for future use by historians and residents of the area.

Residents say that disaster brought back the shock and horror they felt on December 15th, 1967, when a joint in the Silver Bridge snapped, causing 35 cars and trucks to plunge into the Ohio River.

The disaster led to the first federal bridge inspection requirements in U.S. History.

(Copyright 2007 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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