Federal investigators have concluded that the crew of a cargo ship ignored radioed and visual warnings about lights being out on a western Kentucky bridge in the moments leading up to a wreck.
National Transportation Safety Board investigators said on Tuesday that the crew of the Delta Mariner used only visual cues and went under the wrong span of the Eggner's Ferry Bridge near Aurora, Ky., in January 2012. The wreck tore down a 322-foot span of the bridge over the Tennessee River.
Investigators also concluded that white warning lights on the bridge had been out for several years and other lights shorted out before the wreck. The missing span halted traffic on U.S. 68 between the western shore of Kentucky Lake and the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area.
Survivors of the nation's deadliest alcohol-related highway crash are expected to attend a public memorial service in a central Kentucky town on the 25th anniversary of the tragedy.
The service is set for Tuesday evening at North Hardin High School at Radcliff.
Twenty-seven people died when the church bus they were in was hit by a drunken driver on May 14, 1988, along a rural stretch of Interstate 71 near Carrollton, Ky.
Forty people, mostly youngsters, escaped the burning bus. The group had spent the day at Kings Island amusement park in Ohio and was headed home to Radcliff when their bus was hit by a pickup truck driven by Larry Mahoney.
Mahoney survived and was convicted of assault, manslaughter and wanton endangerment. He was released from prison in 1999.