Siloam, NC Bridge Collapses Over Yadkin River, Feb 1975

SILOAM Bridge collapse 1

YADKIN BRIDGE COLLAPSE FATAL TO THREE PEOPLE.

Siloam, N. C. (AP) -- At least three persons were killed and a 3-year-old girl was missing after a one-lane bridge collapsed Sunday night, sending their vehicles into the Yadkin River 30 feet below.
Ten others were hospitalized in good condition.
The middle section of the Siloam Road Bridge at the Surry Yadkin County Line collapsed about 10 p.m. The bridge is near Siloam in northwestern North Carolina, about 30 miles northwest of Winston-Salem. The span, of steel with a wood floor, is about 300 feet long, with more than 200 feet over the water.
Two cars were on the bridge when the section collapsed. Two of the persons killed, MR. and MRS. HUGH ATKINSON of Rt. 1, Siloam, were in the first car that fell. The second car landed on top of the ATKINSON'S car.
In the thick fog that obscured the broken bridge section, other cars that approached were unable to stop, and plunged into the river. Rescue workers said they believed that seven cars in all fell from the bridge. Some of the cars fell from the Surry side and others from the Yadkin side.
The injured, who were admitted to area hospitals and listed in satisfactory condition, were:
MARY JO BULLINGTON and DEBRA COLLINS of nearby Pilot Mountain, who were in one car; JAMES T. VENABLE of Winston-Salem, believed alone in his car, and the following from the Siloam area:
MICHAL MATTHEWS, 19; LORI JILL MATTHEWS, 13; BOBBY MATTHEWS, 43; MOZELL MATTHEWS, 42; GRACE SCOTT, about 60; JOHN SCOTT, about 60; and JOYCE FEEZOR, 46.
The body of a woman from Pinnacle near Siloam was recovered. She was MRS. JUDY BROWN NEEDHAM, 28, who was in a pickup truck with her husband and two daughters. One of her daughters, who is schoolaged, was rescued. Her husband was found later in the water and was uninjured.
Their 3-year-old daughter was missing.
The first unit to arrive at the bridge from the Fall Creek Volunteer Fire Department. EUGENE LIVENGOOD, a member of the unit, said: "When we got here it was so foggy there was nothing we could do but wait for the rescue units. I felt like jumping in, but it would have been useless. We all could have drowned."
The current was extremely swift, and the water was deep enough to cover some of the cars.
A large crane was sent to retrieve the cars. According to an unconfired reported [sic], the bridge, with a floor of wooden planks, had been condemened several months ago. It was resurfaced with planks and okayed for use, the report said.
The cause of the collapse was not known immediately. Rescue units responded from Forsyth, Yadkin, Surry, and Stokes counties. Ambulances from outlying counties were also called.
The Siloam road is a major route for commuters from Surry County who work in Winston-Salem. A sheriff's department spokesman said the commuter traffic would have to be rerouted through Rockford to cross the bridge there.

The Daily Times-News Burlington North Carolina 1975-02-24