Baltimore bridge collapse: 6 dead

BALTIMORE (AP) — A freighter lost power and crashed into a major bridge in Baltimore early Tuesday, obliterating the span in seconds and plunging into the river in a terrifying plunge that will disrupt a major shipping port for months. Six people are missing and presumed dead.

The ship's crew issued a mayday call minutes before the crash Francis Scott Key The bridge helps authorities control vehicular traffic, the Maryland governor said.

That ship Hit one of the bridge supports, collapses the structure like a toy. Part of the span rested on the ship's bow and caught fire.

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore said the ship headed toward the bridge at a “very, very fast rate of speed,” giving officers enough time to stop cars from crossing the bridge.

“These people are heroes,” Moore said. “They saved lives last night.”

The 1.6-mile (2.6 km)-long bridge, which used 12 million vehicles last year, was struck in the middle of the night long before the busy morning commute.

State Transportation Secretary Paul Wiedefeldt said the six people, who are still unaccounted for, were part of a construction crew filling potholes in the bridge.

Given the depth of the water and the length of time the accident took place, the workers were presumed dead, a senior executive of the company that employed the workers said on Tuesday afternoon.

Geoffrey Pritzker, executive vice president of Brawner Builders, said crews were working on the mid-span of the bridge when it went down. No bodies were recovered and rescuers continued the search till late afternoon.

“It was completely unexpected,” Pritzker said. “We don't know what else to say. We take great pride in safety and we have cones, signs, lights, barriers and flags.

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Jesus Campos, who worked on the bridge for Brawner Builders and knew the crew, said he was told they were resting and some were sitting in their trucks when the bridge went down.

“A month ago, I knew I was there, I knew what it was like when the trailers went by,” Campos said. “Imagine knowing the fall. It's so hard. One doesn't know what to do.”

Rescuers pulled 2 people out of the water. One person was treated at the hospital and discharged several hours later. Several vehicles also went into the river, although officials did not believe anyone was inside.

“It looked like something out of an action movie,” Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott said, adding that it was “unbelievably tragic.”

According to Maryland Transportation Authority first responder radio traffic, a police dispatcher called shortly before the collapse that a vessel had lost its rudder and asked officers to stop all traffic on the bridge. Broadcastify.com archive.

An officer who made a traffic stop radioed that he was going to drive over the bridge to alert construction workers. But seconds later, a frantic officer said: “The whole bridge has collapsed. Start, start whoever, everybody… The whole bridge collapses.

On a separate radio channel for maintenance and construction workers, one person said authorities were halting traffic because a ship had lost its rudder. There was no follow-up order to evacuate, and after 30 seconds the bridge fell and the channel fell silent.

From 1960 to 2015 there were 35 The big bridge is collapsing According to the World Association for Water Transport Infrastructure, worldwide due to ship or boat collision.

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Decline Stopping shipping at the Port of Baltimore, a major shipping hub, is sure to create a logistical nightmare on the East Coast for months, if not years. The accident will also disrupt freight and passenger traffic.

“Losing this bridge would devastate the entire region, the entire East Coast,” said Maryland state Sen. Johnny Ray Salling said.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, speaking at a news conference near the site, said it was too early to estimate how long it would take to clear the channel, which is about 50 feet (15 meters) deep.

“I don't know of a bridge that's built to withstand a direct impact from a ship of this size,” he said.

Synergy Marine Group – which manages the vessel, known as the Dally – confirmed that the vessel struck the pier at about 1:30 a.m. while it was under the control of one or more pilots, local experts who help guide ships safely in and out. Ports. The vessel is owned by Grace Ocean Private Limited.

Synergy said all crew members and the two pilots on board were accounted for and there were no injuries.

AP reporter Donna Warder reports on the search for victims following the Baltimore bridge collapse.

The governor said the vessel was moving at 8 knots, approximately 9 mph (14.8 kph).

The severed remains of the bridge could be seen rising above the surface of the water. The on-ramp ended abruptly where the span once began.

Retired Baltimore Fire Chief Donald Heinbuch said he was startled by a deep rumble that shook his home for several seconds. “It felt like an earthquake,” he said.

He drove to the edge of the river and couldn't believe what he saw.

“The ship was there, the bridge was in the water, it was like it exploded,” he said.

The bridge spans the Patapsco River at the entrance to a busy port that leads to the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The bridge, which opened in 1977, is named after Author of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Wiedefeld said all shipping in and out of the port will be suspended until further notice, although the facility remains open to trucks.

President Joe Biden has said he plans to move to Baltimore and wants the federal government to cover the entire cost of rebuilding.

“It's going to take some time,” Biden said.

According to data from Marine Traffic, Daly was en route from Baltimore to Colombo, Sri Lanka and was flying under the flag of Singapore. The container ship is about 985 feet (300 meters) long and about 157 feet (48 meters) wide, according to the website.

According to shipping information system Equasis, inspectors found a problem with Daly's engine in June, but a recent inspection found no defects.

Danish shipping company Maersk said it chartered the vessel.

Last year, the Port of Baltimore handled 52.3 million tons of foreign cargo worth $80 billion, the state said.

The head of a supply chain management firm said Americans should expect shortages of goods from the effects of the decline in ocean container shipping and East Coast trucking.

“The Port of Baltimore isn't the only one that's going to be affected,” said Ryan Peterson, CEO of Flexport.

Since Baltimore is not a major port for container ships, the decline will not affect global trade, but its facilities are important when it comes to goods such as agricultural equipment and autos, said Judah Levin, head of global research. Freight booking site Freightos.

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Associated Press journalists from around the world contributed to this report, including Sarah Brumfield, Rebecca Santana, Jake Offenhartz, Joshua Goodman, Ben Finley, Claudia Lauer, Brian Witte, Juliet Linderman, David McHugh, John Seewer, Michael Kunzelman and Mike Catalini.

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