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    :: Tuesday, June 17, 2008 ::

    June 17 ceremony marks 50th anniversary of Ironworkers bridge collapse - The Canadian Press
    VANCOUVER — Quitting time was approaching for dozens of ironworkers as they toiled 40 metres above Burrard Inlet, building the new Second Narrows Bridge.

    They were bolting together the spans on the north side of the inlet that would eventually meet with those on the south end, connecting North Vancouver to Vancouver.

    It was June 17, 1958, and the state-of-the-art, cantilever bridge was already a year into construction.

    It was one of the hottest days of the year, although it was only mid-June, and the men were tired and sweating.

    The bridge's huge, heavy beams are held together by thousands of bolts, and some of the men were astride the beams, inserting the bolts; others were inside, placing the massive nuts on the bolts as they came through.

    Many men were on the fifth span, which by now jutted well out over the inlet.

    'I said, 'Oh, my God.' It was just like high-powered rifle shots. The bolts and splices were just banging off like a high-powered gun,' said Norm Atkinson, now 80, an ironworker who survivor that day and one of only four still alive.

    Nineteen people died instantly or soon after - 14 ironworkers, three engineers, a painter, and a commercial diver who died a couple days later when he drowned trying to recover a body.
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