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1969: A wild night on the Mississippi as the Becky Thatcher breaks free, and the Santa Maria sinks like a tub

1969: A wild night on the Mississippi as the Becky Thatcher breaks free, and the Santa Maria sinks like a tub

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A replica of Christopher Columbus’ sailing ship, the Santa Maria, arrived in downtown St. Louis on March 29, 1969. The vessel was to be another nod to the city’s brief history as a Spanish colony two centuries ago. But on June 28, 1969, a wild thunderstorm roared through St. Louis with tornadoes, 70 mph winds and two inches of rain. The storm broke the moorings of the Santa Maria and the old Becky Thatcher restaurant boat, carrying the boats two miles downstream. They crashed against a dock on the Illinois bank, and the Santa Maria sank like a tub.

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