Six Presumed Dead After Baltimore Bridge Collapse

Authorities paused their search for six missing persons on Tuesday after a crowded cargo ship collided with a Baltimore bridge, forcing it to collapse and blocking one of the busiest commercial harbors in the United States.

As night fell, US Coast Guard Rear Admiral Shannon Gilreath told a press conference that despite extensive search efforts and the temperature of the water, they do not expect to find any survivors.

All six people were part of a nocturnal construction crew mending potholes on the Francis Scott Key Bridge when calamity struck shortly after midnight.

“We’re transitioning from search and rescue to a recovery operation,” said Roland Butler, Maryland’s secretary of state police.

He said the temperatures and currents were making it difficult for divers to work underwater, but boats will continue to patrol overnight.

Video video shows the packed container ship colliding with one of the bridge’s supports, forcing the 1977-built steel structure to collapse like a deck of cards.

Maryland Governor Wes Moore stated earlier that authorities’ rapid thinking after the ship made a mayday call allowed them to prevent vehicles from driving into the bridge.

“These individuals are heroes. “They saved lives last night,” he said during a press conference.

The FBI and other authorities stated that there was no known connection to terrorism.

“The preliminary investigation points to an accident,” Moore said in a statement.

The Maryland transportation chief, Paul Wiedefeld, stated that the crew working on the bridge was “basically repairing potholes, just so you understand that had nothing to do with a structural issue at all.”

President Joe Biden described the collapse as a “terrible accident,” pledging to reopen the port and rebuild the bridge.

Governor Moore, a rising figure in the Democratic Party, told CNN that the priority now was to ensure that victims’ families “can find closure.”

Two of the missing workers were from Guatemala, according to the country’s foreign ministry, and the Baltimore Banner claimed that Mexican, Salvadoran, and Honduran nationals were also among the casualties.

Attempt to drop anchors

Steel girders protruded from the water’s surface, with shredded metal hanging across the big ship’s deck.

Tiffany Wengert, a 30-year-old teacher, stated, “This is something we’ve been looking at all our lives.”

“And all of the sudden… it’s just gone.”

Details have surfaced about how the crew attempted to avoid disaster when their ship lost power and was careening toward the bridge.

“Just before the incident, the vessel, Dali, experienced a brief loss of propulsion.” As a result, it was unable to keep the correct direction and collided,” said Singapore’s marine authority, where the Dali is registered.

According to the authorities, the ship’s management business, Synergy Marine Pte Ltd, reported that the crew “dropped anchors” in a last-ditch effort to keep the ship back.

Federal investigators expect the vessel’s recordings to be key in determining what happened, said to Jennifer Homendy, chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board, which is handling the probe.

Butler, of Maryland state police, stated that on Wednesday morning, divers will “begin a more detailed search to do our very best to recover those six missing people.”

The Francis Scott Key Bridge, named after the poet who wrote the lyrics to the US national anthem, is a critical link in the East Coast highway system, used by around 34,000 cars every day.

Other bridges and tunnels allow automobiles to cross the harbor. However, the twisted steel barrier that is now partially submerged across the harbor entrance obstructs practically all maritime activity.

The Port of Baltimore is the ninth-busiest major US port in terms of both foreign cargo handled and foreign cargo value, and it directly employs over 15,000 people while supporting about 140,000 others.

“There is no question that this will have a significant and long-term impact on supply chains,” US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg warned, adding that it was “too early” to predict when the port will reopen.

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott described the bridge as a “unthinkable tragedy…like something out of an action movie.”

“We have to be thinking about the families and people impacted,” he told reporters.

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