VIDEO: On July 17, 1981, two suspended walkways collapsed inside Kansas City’s Hyatt Regency Hotel. The event became one of the worst man-made disasters in American history, and the shockwaves are still being felt four decades later.
It happened at the worst possible time. The room was packed for a Friday night dance, and 114 people died, 216 were hurt and thousands more were affected.
Micheal Mahoney was at the Hyatt that night.
“I was a feature reporter here in Kansas City,” he said. “I’d been here about a year and a half, and the beat was called the lifestyle beat.”
Today, Kansas Citians know him as KMBC 9 News’ veteran political journalist. But things were different for Mahoney in his late 20s.
“I really had a hankering to get back to hard news,” he said. “But thought I’d tough it out.”
The 40-story Hyatt Regency had opened its doors in 1980 as the jewel of the Crown Center development.