Hurricane Matthew demolishes Springmaid Pier

From staff reports

Myrtle Beach city officials said that storm surge from Hurricane Matthew destroyed the Springmaid Pier, leaving only 100 feet standing of the structure.

What was the longest pier on the Grand Strand at 1,060 feet, the popular fishing spot washed away in the heavy surf on Saturday.

“I didn’t expect the pier to be gone,” said Myrtle Beach resident Eddie Smolensky. “We were getting a little stir-crazy sitting around in the house. We wanted to come over here; heard there was damage and wanted to see what was going on. This is pretty crazy though.”

Weather-beaten boards were piled on the beach where the pier once stood.

Mark Kruea, Myrtle Beach city spokesman, said the pier is owned by Doubletree by Hilton, not the city, and it would be up to the company to either make repairs or dismantle the remains.

The hotel released a statement saying that all the staff and guests were evacuated safely from the hotel before the storm arrived, and acknowledged reports of damage to the pier.

According to the statement, “The hotel will have a team on site to assess the extent of the damage once the storm clears the area. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and provide updates as they become available.”

The Springmaid Pier has been rebuilt twice in the last 62 years. The pier opened in 1953, but crumbled under the pressure of Hurricane Hazel’s 130-plus mph winds on Oct. 15, 1954. It collapsed again years later when an airplane crashed into it