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May 10, 1980 - Image 11

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1980-05-10

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The Michigan Daily-Saturday, May 10, 1980-Page 11
Freighter hits
Florida skyway
in thunderstorm;
at least 31 killed

THE FREIGHTER SUMMIT Venture sits idly nexteto the knocked down por-
tion of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. The freighter ran into the Tampa Bay
structure during a storm yesterday morning. Thirty-one persons died.
ThreeMile Islan
operator can raise
customer utility rates
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP)-The Jersey Central Power & Light, said he
operator of the crippled Three Mile could not discuss specifics before a
Island nuclear plant can stay in final decision is approyed.
business and raise customer rates, the "I am not going to react in terms of
state Public Utility Commission ruled disappointment or gratification," said
yesBut the preliminary order, scheduled chairman William Kuhns. "We really
for final adoption May 23, also says have to study it. We have to meet with
Metropolitan Edison Co. must stop the bankers. They are our only source
charging customers for Three Mile of money at this point."
Island's idle but undamaged Unit 1 Kuhns said Citibank, Chemical
reactor. Bank-both based in New York-and
The basic conclusion of the other major GPU creditors will meet
commission ... is that Met Ed should Wednesday to discuss the order. He
continue to operate as a public utility," said GPU and the banks will file
the PUC order said, responses to the PUC order by a May 16
"THE COMMISSION will provide deadline.
Met Ed the means of financial
rehabilitation. However, we will write THE PUC'S FINAL order in the case,
no blank checks on its ratepayers." which took five months to complete and
The rate increases will help Met Ed produced a transcript of rrore than
and its sister company, Pennsylvania 4,000 pages, is not expected to differ
Electric Co., replace generating power sustantially from this initial
lost because of the March 28, 1979, recommendation.
accident in which radiation leaked from The commission found that the
the site. undamaged Unit 1 reactor, shut down
The net effect of the order will be to since the accident pending federal
add about $3.70 to the monthly bills of safety hearings, is useless becaus6 of
average Met Ed residential customers the plant shutdown and should be
and 75 cents toPenelec customers. removed from utility rates for a six-
Met Ed customers are already monthperiodstartingJune2.
paying an extra $3.45 a month, added on The action will cost Met Ed $27
March 1 when the PUC conditionally million a year and Penelec $12 million,
approved a $55 million rate increase to the PUC said.
cope with the costs of replacement But it maintained, "Ratepayers
power. should not pay both the cost of a
THE CHAIRMAN of General Piblip generating station which is out of
Utilities, parent company of Me -Ed; service-and, the, costs of replacement.
Penelec and the 'third TMI Wner, generaton;'

From AP and UPI
freighter the size of two football fields
crunched into the Sunshine Skyway
Bridge during a blinding thunderstorm
yesterday, tearing away a 600-foot gap
that sent a Greyhound bus, a pickup
truck, and three cars hurtling 140 feet
into Tampa Bay. At least 31 persons
were killed, authorities said.
Eighteen bodies, including that of a
baby, were recovered and divers sear-
ched the choppy waters for other vic-
tims, the Coast Guard said.
THE ONLY KNOWN survivor was
the driver of the pickup truck who was
pulled from the bay by the crew of the
freighter Summit Venture after his
truck bounced off the vessel and sank.
"I felt it. I saw the superstructure
falling," said Jay Hirsh, an ambulance
attendant who' witnessed the incident.
"The first thing I did was look for heads
bobbing in the water. There were
The driver of the pickup, Wesley
Maclntyre, 56, of nearby Gulfport, sur-
vived with a head cut.;
Anthony's Hospital, where a hospital
statement said MacIntyre told doctors
"He felt vibrations-thought possibly
due to the wind. The bridge system
gave way ... his truck fell, bouncing off
the ship.
"Somehow he managed to get free.
He swam to the top, clinging to the ship
and calling for help. Crewmen heard
him and pulled him out."
"I couldn't stop," said McIntyre. He
said he was struggling through the
storm when "the whole bridge started
to sway, I could see the ship and the end

of the bridge was breaking off. I just
slid and I hit the ship, then I dropped in-
to the water."
Capt. Marshall Gilbert, Coast Guard
commander at St. Petersburg, said
divers working in the 50-foot-deep bay
recovered 18 bodies, then suspended the
search at dusk, but had sighted other
victims trapped in the underwater rub-
ble of twisted girders and concrete
"We understand there are bodies in-
side a number of cars entangled in the
bridge work," Gilbert said. "We have
physically seen three cars, a pickup
truck and a bus. There possibly could
be more."
Gilbert said a bus containing migrant
workers was reported missing after the
bridge collapsed at 7:38 a.m. EDT, but
divers had not spotted a second bus.
The National Transportation Safety
Board dispatched an investigative
team from Washington, headed by
board member Patricia Goldman.
Goldman also represented the board in
the Blackthorn investigation.
On the floor of the Florida House in
Tallahassee, members from the Tampa
Bay area demanded a special commit-
tee to investigate accidents in the har-
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