On 17 June 1958, Vancouver experienced the worst industrial accident in its history when the new bridge being built across Burrard Inlet collapsed into the flooding tidal waters of Second Narrows, killing eighteen workers. Photos of the two broken spans tilted into the sea went around the world and provided the city with one of its iconic historical images, still familiar to school children half a century later. The shocking thing was that the bridge was not an old, decrepit structure, but a new one just in the midst of being erected with all the support and security modern engineering could provide. That somebody had made a colossal error seemed obvious, but it would take a Royal Commission to discover how and why. Even then, some mysteries will never be solved. "Tragedy at Second Narrows" unravels one of Vancouver's great mysteries with all the appeal of a gripping detective novel.
Eric Jamieson has returned to the scene of the tragedy and reconstructed the tragic event with scrupulous care, introducing the entire cast of politicians, construction bosses, engineers and ironworkers; he relives those terrifying moments when the structure began to crack and drop like the bottom was falling out of the world. In the end, readers will have learned about the fascinating world of big-time bridge building and will be left with a searingly clear picture of precisely how a great disaster took shape and plunged to its inevitable conclusion.