Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore Collapses After Being Struck By Cargo Ship

In a heartrending incident in the early hours of a Tuesday, the iconic Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore suffered a calamitous collapse. A large container vessel that had suddenly lost power rammed into a support pillar, leading to a catastrophic failure of the structure and plunging both people and vehicles into the cold depths of the Patapsco River, according to officials.

The ship in question, a Singapore-flagged container vessel named the ‘Dali’, was under the operation of the charter company Synergy Group, and was carrying cargo for Maersk customers at the time of the incident. In a puzzling turn of events, the ship lost power instantly prior to impacting the bridge. The exact cause that led to the vessel’s power failure remains enigmatic.

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Paul Wiedefeld, the Secretary of Maryland’s Department of Transportation, conducted a mid-morning press briefing with a somber countenance. During the update, he informed the media that six individuals, all members of a construction team performing pothole repairs on the bridge, were still unaccounted for. Their colleagues, two workers who had also toppled into the water, were fortunately saved by the tireless efforts of rescue workers.

On one hand, a worker was fortunate enough to escape the calamity unscathed. On the other, his colleague was transferred to the University of Maryland Medical Center in a critical condition. Currently being treated, the individual is yet to provide their statement to investigators due to the severity of his injuries.

In light of the grievous event, Wes Moore, the Governor of Maryland, officially declared a state of emergency. The Governor assured that his administration was vigilantly collaborating with various agencies to fast-track deployment of Federal aid from the Biden administration during this trying time. He expressed gratitude to the intrepid men and women tirelessly working on rescue missions and extended his prayers for the safety of all.

Details unraveled that a distress call took place in the wee hours of the day, around 1:30 a.m., with emergency phone lines lighting up with reports of a vessel colliding with the bridge. The exact number of vehicles on the structure during the disastrous event is still uncertain, but reports suggest the presence of a significant tractor-trailer on the facility.

Kevin Cartwright, the communications director for the fire department, classified the unfortunate incident as a ‘mass casualty event’. Drawing a grave picture of the situation, he described some of the ship’s cargo still hanging precariously from the damaged bridge.

In response to the distress signals, emergency protocols were quickly put into action. Preemptive measures, including the halting traffic to the bridge, were taken based on the received mayday call. Wes Moore and Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott jointly affirm that these judicious decisions saved numerous lives that fateful night.

Amid catastrophic circumstances, speculations about potential terrorist involvement demanded official resources. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) conducted an on-scene assessment to rule out any links to terrorism. William DelBagno, the special agent-in-charge at the FBI’s Baltimore office, dismissed any allegations tying the calamitous bridge collapse to terrorist activities.

On the flip side, the National Transportation Security Board has been proactive in its response. The Security Board dispatched a team to meticulously scan the scene of the accident and investigate the incident thoroughly. While recovery efforts continue, Baltimore’s Mayor has called for prayers and gratitude for the first responders, the affected families, and those entangled in the ongoing efforts.

The impact of the collapse echoed through the surrounding area, with a local Baltimore resident comparing the rumble to an earthquake or a powerful thunderclap. This event has significantly hampered the operations of the Baltimore Port – a critical junction for East Coast shipping. Consequently, shipping to and from Baltimore has been temporarily suspended.

Named posthumously after the composer of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’, the Francis Scott Key Bridge, established in 1977, served as a frequent passage for approximately 31,000 commuters daily. The four-lane span catered to a bustling flow of traffic, and its absence is expected to result in a significant shift in local transportation dynamics. Governor Moore has declared it premature to predict the timeframe required to restore the bridge and resume regular operations.

In the aftermath of the tragic incident, Pete Buttigieg, the U.S. Transportation Secretary, publicly announced his support. He confirmed having engaged in communications with Governor Moore and Mayor Scott, extending the aid of the U.S. Department of Transportation as rescuing efforts persist. He further urged motorists in the Baltimore area to heed local advisories on alternatives and response procedures.

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Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore Collapses After Being Struck By Cargo Ship appeared first on Real News Now.

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