Fifty years later, effects of Silver Bridge disaster still felt

"Fifty years ago Friday, just before 5 p.m., 37 vehicles occupied by 64 people — a blend of local Christmas shoppers, long-haul truckers and commuting workers — were crossing the Ohio River between Point Pleasant and Kanauga, Ohio, on the Silver Bridge."

"As a stoplight on Sixth Street in Point Pleasant kept a long line of southbound traffic stalled on the span, a noise, described by some as a very loud gunshot and by others as a whooshing roar, echoed through the Mason County river town."

Silver Bridge

"The Silver Bridge was an eyebar-chain suspension bridge built in 1928 and named for the color of its aluminum paint. The bridge carried U.S. Route 35 over the Ohio River, connecting Point Pleasant, West Virginia, and Gallipolis, Ohio.

On December 15, 1967, the Silver Bridge collapsed while it was full of rush-hour traffic, resulting in the deaths of 46 people. Two of the victims were never found. Investigation of the wreckage pointed to the cause of the collapse being the failure of a single eyebar in a suspension chain, due to a small defect 0.1 inch (2.5 mm) deep. Analysis showed that the bridge was carrying much heavier loads than it had originally been designed for and had been poorly maintained."