Hyatt Hotels: Please reconsider your action on the Skywalk Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri

Mr. Farley Kern
Vice President, Corporate Communications
Hyatt Hotels Corporation
Chicago, Illinois

Dear Mr. Kern,

Thirty years after the Kansas City Hyatt Regency Hotel skywalks collapsed, I have learned that the Hyatt Hotel Corporation will not contribute to a memorial for the victims of the worst structural failure in U.S. history. “We are disappointed that we will not have the opportunity to continue to operate the hotel and as such, Hyatt will not be making a donation to the Skywalk Memorial,” said a letter dated Nov. 30 from Rusty Macy, general manager of the former Hyatt Regency Crown Center.

The scene on July 18, 1981, the day after the collapse of the skywalks at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Kansas City. The collapse killed 114 people. Photo: Kansas City Star

The disaster killed 114 guests and employees at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Kansas City and injured more than 200 others.

I suspect the Hyatt Hotel Corporation has made millions of dollars operating the hotel during the past three decades.  It should donate a small portion of those profits to the Skywalk Memorial.

I admit, I do take this personally. I covered the tragedy that terrible night as a reporter. I saw first hand the suffering that took place. The memory haunts me and  many others to this day.

I implore the Hyatt Hotel Corporation to reconsider its action; For the sake of your company’s credibility and out of respect for the victim’s of the Hyatt Regency skywalk collapse.

The skywalk collapse was the worst structural failure in U.S. history. Photo: Kansas City Star

Where is the Hyatt’s corporate responsibility? Your company is in the hospitality business. Why is it inhospitable to the memories of the hotel guests and employees who died in your hotel? Where is your corporation’s sense of human decency?

Because of the Hyatt Hotel Corporation’s action, I must now boycott Hyatt properties as an act of conscience dedicated to the memories of the innocent men, women and children who died and were injured in the Hyatt Regency Hotel collapse.

Please reconsider this decision. Honor and help memorialize those Hyatt Regency Hotel guests and employees who died at your property 30 years ago.

Bernard Rogers McCoy
Lincoln, Nebraska

Remembering the Kansas City skywalk collapse

The July 17, 1981 Hyatt Regency skywalk collapse killed 114 people and injured more than 200 others in Kansas City, Missouri.

It was an honor to wrap-up several months of research and reporting for a television news special last Friday on the 30th anniversary of the Kansas City Hyatt Regency hotel skywalk collapse.

I worked on the special for KCTV5, the Kansas City CBS affiliate.  It’s  where I once worked as a reporter and anchor.

Photo: Kansas City Star

The skywalk collapse was the worst structural failure in U.S. history.  On that July 17th evening 30 years ago, 114 men, women and children died.  Another  216 people were injured.

This KCTV news special,  reporting by the Kansas City Star, and a partnering City in Shock website by the Star and KCTV5 devoted to the skywalk collapse gave surviving victims of the disaster  an opportunity to heal further and come to terms with a tragedy that shocked an entire city.

Click below to see portions of the KCTV special.

Had not so many talented reporters, videographers, producers, editors and news managers worked so hard on this project, younger generations may never have known about or seen video of the night of the skywalk collapse.

More than 1,000 emergency responders worked the Hyatt Regency skywalk disaster on July 17, 1981. Photo: Kansas City Star

Historic videotape reports of that disaster night may not have been located, cataloged, digitized and saved for future generations.  A local television station and newspaper may never have had the opportunity to serve its community and viewers by taking a historic look at one of Kansas City’s most important news events.

Barney McCoy, age 25, reporting at the 1981 Hyatt Regency skywalk disaster.

Truth be told, I’ve spent the last three decades of my life researching, reporting and reflecting on this tragedy. I was the first reporter on the scene that terrible night as a young reporter for Kansas City’s CBS television affiliate.

The KCTV5 Hyatt Regency skywalk collapse news special was a highlight project of my career.  After all, it’s rare that we have an opportunity to work on journalistic endeavors that defined an entire community,,, and us so personally and professionally?

It was a labor of love and respect for those whose lives were so profoundly changed by the skywalk disaster.