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River pilot witnesses Mathews Bridge hit by ship

10:43 PM, Sep 26, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A First Coast river pilot who's been on the water for decades looked on as the Mathews Bridge was hit by a vessel Thursday afternoon.

"It's very shocking," said Michael Succi.

Succi said he was watching the ship from his office window close to the base of the Mathews Bridge.

"It's a little unusual that we see them at my office that big so we were kinda watching it," he said.

The next thing he saw -- a damaged bridge and naval ship.

"We watched the upper structure of the ramp clip the bridge," he said.

He called 9-1-1 and within minutes, first responders were on the water, on land, and on the bridge.  

"Little bit scary. There were still a lot of cars going over the bridge," he said.

Succi's been dealing with big ships on the water for decades. And now - Succi is still scratching his head wondering how something like this could even happen.  He said boat pilots are supposed to check the distance from the top of the ship and the bottom of the bridge.

"Obviously, this thing was higher than they expected," Succi said.

A lesson he. along with many others. hope is learned.

First Coast News

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