The story behind these photographs of bridge jumpers could have had a happy ending. It was tragic instead.
On Sept. 2, 1974, a rock concert sponsored by radio station WKTQ brought 100,000 people to the Point State Park, Downtown.
Thousands of rock fans stood on the Allegheny shore waiting for the start of the free barge performance. Pirates fans joined the crowd later, after a Labor Day double-header defeat of the Phillies.
Because of the Pirates game, which drew 45,181 people to Three Rivers Stadium, and the rock concert traffic, Downtown descended into madness. It was “snarled for hours as many motorists, unable to find parking places, parked where they stopped. Cars were parked on the Fort Duquesne Bridge, and on sidewalks, in alleys and bridge ramps.”
Before the concert was scheduled to start, dozens of fans put on a show of their own. They started jumping from the bridges into the river, some from the Fort Duquesne Bridge.
Dave Buzarelli, 21, was one of them. He jumped into the Allegheny River, came to the surface once and then slipped beneath the water. He was presumed drowned. Later, his swimming companion said that Buzarelli screamed for help but no one noticed him.
“The more than 60,000 who jammed and littered the park, however, were oblivious to the apparent drowning,” The Pittsburgh Press reported.
The concert was termed “a disaster.” A representative of the Allegheny Conference and Community said “there will be no more rock concerts in Point State Park.”