Completed in 1987, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge is the longest cable-stayed concrete bridge in the world. The bridge spans Tampa Bay at a total length of 21,877 feet (4.1 miles). The Travel Channel rated the Sunshine Skyway #3 in its special on the "Top 10 Bridges" in the world, and the bridge also boasts an interesting history.
The Sunshine Skyway isn’t the first bridge to span the broad mouth of Tampa Bay. In fact, a four-mile steel cantilever bridge preceded the current Sunshine Skyway. But during a violent thunderstorm on the morning of May 9, 1980, the freighter Summit Venture plowed into the cantilever bridge. More than 1,000 feet of the original bridge fell into the bay, killing 36 motorists, including 22 college students on a chartered Greyhound Bus. A few months prior to the Summit Venture Accident, two working cargo ships collided near the bridge resulting in numerous deaths of the crews as well.
Those aren’t the only people to perish on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Apparently, it is a favorite destination for those suffering from depression. Since 1987, at least 210 people have committed suicide by jumping from the center of the bridge into the waters of Tampa Bay. Another 51 people ended their lives from the old Sunshine Skyway from 1954 to 1987.
With such a dark history, it’s easy to believe the bridge is either haunted or cursed. Over the years, stories have circulated about motorists picking up a hitchhiker just before she jumps from the bridge, only to have her vanish before their eyes. Others report seeing a spectral Greyhound bus with all the passengers sitting forward with looks of terror on their faces. The bus passed them by and before it vanished, witnesses are astounded to see one person in the back of the bus turn around wave at them, smiling.