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Kansas City marks 25 years since Hyatt Regency Disaster

Workers clear debris from the hotel atrium where two skywalks collapsed (photo from kansascity.com)

By Frank Morris, KCUR

Kansas City, MO – Today (Monday) marks the 25th anniversary of the Hyatt Regency Disaster.

In all, 114 people died in the Crown Center Hotel when two skywalks collapsed during a tea dance in the hotel atrium.

An engineering mistake had left the skywalks weak.

At the time, it was thought to be the most deadly single structural failure in US history.

Still, Kansas City lawyer and architect Bill Quatman says it had little long term effect on the engineering industry.

"Immediately after the skywalk collapse in 1981 there was a huge industry shake-up in terms of how we're doing design of buildings, who does design of buildings, and how we're doing quality control to make sure that every detail is checked," Quatman says. "And that lasted for about five years and then people got back to business as usual. Quatman says just one person made the mistake that cause the Hyatt disaster."

Quatman says such a mistake could easily happen again because the construction industry is so pressured and fast-paced.


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