Bridge Failures - Most Famous Bridge Disasters

Waterfall Bridge
  • 1297 – One of the earliest bridge destructions ever recorded happened during the First War of Scottish Independence, when English soldiers overloaded Stirling Bridge and caused it to tumble down into water. Destruction was possibly assisted by defending forces.
  • 1444 – Wedding of Marquess of Ferrara in Venice was interrupted when overloaded passenger bridge collapsed due overcrowding.
  • 1845 – Over 70 people (mostly children) drowned when the crowd watching circus act that was set up on a barge.
  • 1850 - Angers bridge that crosses river Maine collapsed when the group of soldier marched over it. Resonance of their steps and wind caused total destruction of the bridge, killing 226 people and injuring many more.
  • 1861 – During US Civil war, confederate partisans destroyed bridge Platte Bridge near St. Joseph, Missouri, managing to derail the train, killing 20 and injuring 100 people.
  • 1876 - Ashtabula River Railroad Disaster managed to take to death over 90 people and injure 64. Collapse of bridge happened because of fatigue or failure of cast iron elements, derailing train that carried 159 passengers into frozen river beneath the bridge.
  • 1891 – Complete failure of wrought iron trusses in the Switzerland bridge that crossed river Birs near village Münchenstein. Train that carried between 530 and 550 passengers dropped trough middle of the bridge, plunging into water killing 71 and injuring 171, becoming the worst train accident in Switzerland’s history.
  • 1904 – Unexpected and extremely powerful flash flood rose over the tracks and sheared off the front half of the train, carrying over 100 people to their death.
  • 1907 and 1911 – Two bridges (Quebec Bridge in 1907 and Romanov Bridge in 1911) who were under construction fell to the ground, causing the death over 250 workers.
  • 1945 – 28 U.S. soldiers died while crossing over battle damaged bridge in Remagen, Germany. Loss of bridge did not pose significant tactical disadvantage to the Allied forces, which were able to quickly build floating bridges.
  • 1951 – Pedestrian footbridge in Wealdstone England was a place of horrific accident on 31 January 1951 when derailed train struck it, causing death of 112 and over 340 injuries.
  • 1953 – New Zeeland’s worst train disaster happened shortly after volcanic eruption displaced large amounts of muddy water, damaging the foundation of Tangiwai Railway Bridge. Few minutes after that oncoming train provided enough strain to totally destroy the bridge. This disaster led to the death of 151 people.
  • 1957 - Rail bridge near St Johns station collapsed after two trains collided and damaged supports of the bridge. Collapsing deck fell onto the wreckage of those two trains, increasing final death toll to 90.
  • 1977 - Granville Railway Bridge collapsed to the train that was passing under him after derailed train collided with supporting pier. 83 people died and 210 were injured.
  • 1981 - Hyatt Regency walkway collapsed after large amount of people caused overload in the badly constructed joints of the bridge. Falling structure landed directly on a well-attended tea dance party in the lobby of the hotel, killing 114 and injuring 200 people.
  • 1983 – Cruise ship Aleksandr Suvorov collided with the Ulyanovsk railway bridge (USSR), causing mass panic and hysteria.
  • 2005 - Veligonda Railway Bridge in India and the train that was on it were destroyed after sudden flood washed bridge away.