What Pegman Saw – West Gate Bridge

“What Pegman saw” is a weekly challenge based on Google Streetview. Using the location provided, you must write a piece of flash fiction of no more than 150 words. You can read the rules here. You can find today’s location on this page,  from where you can also get the Inlinkz code. This week’s prompt is Melbourne, Australia.

WPS - West Gate Bridge 180722

St. Kilda Pier, Melbourne, Australia | ©  Paul Huang Google Maps

West Gate Bridge

Victor shook his head as he listened to the Resident Engineer.

“Listen, mates. After what happened to the bridge in Wales, you’re worried whether it could happen to our West Gate Bridge. Well, it can’t. Our best people say so.”

The Engineer glared at the assembled workmen, daring them to challenge him.

Victor spoke to his mates. Old Jack expressed their opinion best.

“Mate, if yer a pansy, don’t work on bridges.”

But the bridge was speaking. In quiet places away from the growl of motors and the clatter of jack-hammers, failing metal first whispered, then spoke, then shouted.

Before work on 15th October, Victor woke his wife Doris early to reassure her. “I was wrong yesterday,” he said. “We’ll be okay. Tell the kids I’ll be home early.”

He marched onto the bridge, straight-backed.

At 11:50 that morning, fifty metres above the ground, the bridge crashed from under his feet.

Author’s Note

This is a true story that happened in 1970. West Gate bridge was under construction and collapsed, killing 35 workers, among them Victor Gerada. It was Australia’s worst industrial accident.

15 thoughts on “What Pegman Saw – West Gate Bridge

  1. Dear Penny,

    “…failing metal first whispered, then spoke, then shouted.” This is my favorite line in the piece…for the line itself whispers, then shouts. What a tragedy. You recounted it well. Now I’m left aching for his wife he had reassured that morning.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Righteousbruin
      Thank you for reading and commenting. It was an accident that should never have happened. We must hope that the annual memorial service reminds people of the need for great care when lives are at stake.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well-researched Penny,and well told. You capture the mindset of those engineers so well. Such a tragedy, which could happen again and again despite Health and safety. Thank you for telling this story, which I feel needed to be told.

    Like

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