Both the Michigan State Police and the U.S. Coast Guard are looking for more information from the public to help catch a pilot who flew directly underneath the immense Mackinac Bridge on a busy day in June.
A small Coast Guard boat caught this daredevil slipping underneath the massive suspension bridge on June 28, a day when the bridge was choked with traffic as residents of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula streamed up north to vacation spots during the 4th of July holiday, according to the Detroit Free Press.
At five miles long, the bridge folks in Michigan call The Mighty Mac is the fifth-longest suspension bridge in the world. It is a vital piece of infrastructure in the bifurcated state, allowing more than half a million people a month during peak summer months to travel between the two peninsulas.
The roadway sits at its highest point at the midspan 199 feet above the straits of Mackinac where Lake Michigan and Lake Huron meet, though the maximum clearance for ships—and jerks in planes—is 155 feet. The water below can plunge to depths greater than 150 feet. I can’t imagine someone pulling off this stunt under any other major suspension bridge in America. If you were to attempt to thread a plane beneath the Golden Gate Bridge or George Washington Bridge you’d probably be shot down in seconds by recently scrambled jets. The Mackinac Bridge is in a very remote place, however. There’s a good chance that the pilot might get away with it.
Such an amateurish stunt is not even close to worth the potential damage and death toll should something go wrong. Driving the Mackinac Bridge is already terrifying enough given its reputation. In 1989, a woman was killed when a 48-mile an hour gust of wind tossed her Yugo over the side of the Mac like a toy. Indeed the bridge is occasionally closed for high winds and ice cover, particularly during the winter months when fierce winds whip snow and ice across the Great Lakes. We really don’t need to add aerial tricksters to the list of drivers’ worries when facing the Mighty Mac.
If you happen to have any info on this incident, including clearer pictures or video, you can contact Michigan State Police at 906-643-7582 or use the Coast Guard Investigative Service’s CGIS TIPS app.