Hartford, CT Bridge Under Construction Collapses, Dec 1941

THINK DEATH TOLL IN BRIDGE CRASH MAY RISE TO 14.

Hartford, Conn., Dec. 5. (AP) -- A huge steelwork section of a $1,900,000 highway bridge being built over the Connecticut river lay in ruins today, and at least eight workmen were dead with the probable complete death toll set at 14.
Seventeen others were in Hartford hospitals, some of them critically injured yesterday when they were hurled 80 feet into the water as the structure crumpled after a big crane started to shift an 88-ton girder into place.
Hastily recruited rescue squads found seven bodies within a short time, and last night divers who sped from the New London submarine base pulled an eighth from beneath the submerged 650 ton mass of twisted girders, wrecked cranes and splintered wooden piling.
The permanent concrete piers which have been built on the banks and in midstream were undamaged, but a "false pier," a wooden, temporary structure supporting the center of the 270-foot long section that collapsed, crumpled into bits.
The divers, seeking six missing workmen, temporatily abandoned their grim task at midnight, but planned to resume soon after a dredge arrived to haul away some of the heavier wreckage.
One of the dead was W. JAMES WARD of Waterford, erection superintendent for the American Bridge Co., who was supervisor of construction on the Golden Gate bridge at San Francisco.
The other known dead included JOSEPH N. MORIN, 33, Lewiston, Me., and LEON P. VOLINGER, 35, West Harfield.
The missing included HENRY O. THEROUX of Springfield.

The Fitchburg Sentinel Massachusetts 1941-12-05

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DIVERS SEARCH FOR MORE VICTIMS OF BRIDGE CRASH.

TEN BODIES RECOVERED, SOME STILL MISSING; 17 ARE IN HOSPITALS.

Hartford, Conn., Dec. 5 -- (UP) -- The death toll in the Connecticut river bridge collapse rose to 10 today as divers found two more bodies wedged under a heavy girder on the river bottom.

Hartford, Conn., Dec. 5 -- (UP) -- Collapse of the central span of the Connecticut river bridge, which killed at least ten men and sent 17 others to hospitals, was blamed officially today on the weakness of falsework piling used to support steel girders being moved into place.

Hartford, Conn., Dec. 5 -- (UP) -- Divers went back into the cold Connecticut river at dawn today to search for more victims of the collapse of three spans of the world's largest girder bridge.
Six or seven of the men who were working on the spans yesterday when they fell 150 feet into the river, were missing. Eight bodies had been recovered, and 17 injured men were in hospitals, eight in critical condition.
Fog and the difficulty of searching in the dark beneath the ponderous, submerged girders forced divers to com up at midnight. Two hours before, the body of the eight victim, MARTIN RIDGECK, 43, of New York, had been brought up.
The girders collapsed yesterday, while a 26-ton mobile crane was lifting a 98-ton girder. It slipped from the crane and crashed into two other girders, weighing 95 tons each. They gave way, then the entire span plummeted into the river with a deafening crash.
The spans were part of the 842-foot main river section of the 3,926-foot bridge, begun in September, 1940, and scheduled to cost $4,500,000. The American Bridge company, which is building the bridge, did not immediately estimate the damage.
The dead, in addition to RIDGECK, were: LEN VOLINGER, 48, West Harfield, Mass.; JOSEPH MORRIN, Lewiston, Me.; FRANK E. PLACE, Hartford; NICHOLAS A. LOGAN, New York; WILLIAM R. LIPSEY, 47, Flushing, N.Y.; WILLIAM J. WARD, 60, Waterford, Conn., superintendent of construction for the bridge company, and JEROME R. McCLAIN, Middletwown, Conn., a foreman.

Dunkirk Evening Observer New York 1941-12-05