Island to host Causeway collapse memorial

Port Isabel-South Padre Press

The City of South Padre Island will host a public service Friday morning to commemorate the anniversary of the Queen Isabella Causeway collapse.

The Causeway collapsed on Sept. 15, 2001 after it was struck by a barge during the overnight hours. In the darkness, motorists who were then traveling on the bridge could not see that some of the bridge’s center spans had collapsed some 80 feet into the water below.

A total of eight people died in the tragedy, including then-Port Isabel Fire Chief Robert Harris.

Hector Martinez, Jr., Barry and Chelsea Welch, Julio Mireles, Robin Leavell, Steven Francisco Rivas, and Gaspar Hinojosa also died.

Coming so soon on the heels of the Sept. 11th attacks, locals at first feared the incident could have been a related terrorist attack, but in the investigation that followed, it was revealed that a tug boat lost control of the barges it was piloting through the Intracoastal Waterway that bisects the Laguna Madre.

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