Devastating bridge collapse

The bridge plummeted into freezing dark water late into the night.

The third largest bridge in Maryland, the Francis Scott Key Bridge, with a length of 8,635 ft, suffered a catastrophic failure when struck by a 984-foot container ship called Dali. This tragedy has left the city of Baltimore and the nation in shock, prompting a detailed investigation into the events leading up to the disaster.

At 12:39 a.m. on Feb. 26, the Dali departed the Seagirt Marine Terminal in Baltimore, embarking on a journey that would swiftly end. Assisted by two tugboats, the vessel navigated through the Fort McHenry channel, a routine path for ships of a similar size. The crew aboard the Dali, hailing from India, prepared for a long voyage to Sri Lanka.

The situation took a turn for the worse at 1:24 a.m., when the Dali’s lights first flickered off, signaling the beginning of a power outage. This was followed by alarms and a blackout captured on the ship’s Voyage Data Recorder. Despite attempts to regain control, including steering commands and the dropping of the main anchor, the Dali was unable to avoid colliding with the bridge.

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore expressed gratitude for the actions taken by officials to halt traffic on the bridge, which prevented further casualties. The Washington Post reported on the communication that the road crews experienced prior to the bridge collapsing. Since the Dali sent out alerts as soon as possible, one of the pilots was quoted saying, “Have them shut down the bridge.” Quickly, officers on either side of the bridge began stopping traffic and attempted to get everyone off. There was a road construction crew in the middle of the bridge that was incapable of escaping. The incident resulted in the tragic loss of six of the workers, all presumed dead.

The aftermath of the collapse has sparked an investigation. According to sources reported by CNN and USA Today, the National Transportation Safety Board aims to understand the cause and prevent future tragedies. NTSB’s team boarded the vessel to gather electronic data for the investigation. Questions have arisen regarding the Dali’s loss of power and the bridge’s structural resilience.

As the community mourns, efforts are underway to recover the missing and provide support to the families affected. The bridge’s collapse not only represents a loss of life but also a significant impact on Baltimore’s infrastructure and economy. President Joe Biden has pledged federal support for the bridge’s reconstruction, emphasizing the importance of swift action to restore this critical transportation link. CNN reported Biden as saying that the federal government will fully pay for the rebuilding of the bridge.

Deep-sea divers have been sent into the river to recover the remains of the construction workers who were stranded on the bridge when it collapsed. Following the collapse, investigations into the company that sent the workers onto the bridge began. The investigation has revealed that there was not a skiff in use the night of the collapse. The skiff is typically there for scenarios where someone falls off the bridge. More scrutiny is underway in light of this safety violation.

Post Author: Grant Doolin