Drone photo by the US National Transportation Safety Board of the cargo ship Dali and the Francis Scott bridge after the collision.
27 Mar 2024

90 seconds to evacuate bridge after MayDay call: Six dead and two rescued after after cargo ship destroys bridge


The collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland, prompted a declaration of a state of emergency by the governor, according to the Maryland Transportation Authority. 

The incident occurred overnight to Tuesday, with reports of the collapse coming in around 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday. The 1.6-mile bridge, which spanned the Patapsco River, was a crucial part of the Baltimore Beltway/Interstate 695, as reported by WBALTV.com. 

More details An evidence response team from the FBI examines a segment of the bridge several hours after the collapseFollowing the collapse, multiple agencies have been mobilized to respond to the situation. There are reports of several individuals who were on the bridge at the time of the incident, prompting search efforts, including the deployment of a dive team. The Coast Guard has also confirmed the deployment of multiple response units to assist in the search and rescue operation.

Multiple media sources says the cargo ship had reported being without power leaving the crew unable to steer the ship. They had called in a 'MayDay" minutes prior to the collision, which gave authorities some notice to evacuate the bridge before the ship crash into one of the foundation pillars, causing it to collapse.

According to Andy Middleton, the director of the Apostleship of the Sea, a crew member from the DALI cargo ship communicated hours after the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge on Tuesday, confirming that everyone on board the ship was safe. 


CNN reports that Middleton, who had interacted with the captain of the DALI the previous day, reached out to a crew member upon learning of the incident on Tuesday morning.

The DALI cargo ship reportedly had 22 crew members from India on board. They were in the process of setting sail earlier that Tuesday morning and were en route to Sri Lanka at the time of the bridge collapse.



Two persons rescued, six presumed dead

The collapse of Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge early Tuesday morning has resulted in the presumed death of six individuals, who were believed to be part of a road construction crew. The collapse occurred after a 984-foot cargo ship collided with one of the bridge's pillars.

Maryland Governor Wes Moore addressed reporters on Tuesday evening, expressing sorrow over the tragic outcome, calling it a "really heartbreaking conclusion to a challenging day."

Later on Tuesday, it was revealed that two of the missing construction workers were from Guatemala, according to a statement from the country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Two workers were rescued from the water, but with serious injuries.  


90 seconds to divert traffic 

According to AP, investigators commenced gathering evidence on Wednesday from the cargo ship that collided with Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge, resulting in its collapse. Meanwhile, divers searched through the wreckage below for six construction workers who fell into the harbor and were presumed dead.

As the investigation accelerated, the Baltimore area grappled with the abrupt loss of a crucial transportation artery within the city's highway loop. The incident also led to the closure of the port, which plays a pivotal role in the city's shipping industry.

In the dead of night, a dispatcher's urgent 12-second warning pierced the airwaves: A colossal cargo ship had lost control of its steering and was barreling towards the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

In a swift response, police officers acted within approximately 90 seconds to halt traffic flow on the Baltimore bridge in both directions. One officer reported his intention to rush onto the bridge to notify a construction crew.


Wikipedia has more details about the bridge and the collapse: The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced that it had begun an investigation and that it had sent a team to the site. The Federal Bureau of Investigation was also deployed to the scene but said that terrorism was not suspected in the incident.

Singapore's Transport Safety Investigation Bureau and Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) have announced that their personnel are en route to Baltimore to provide assistance in the investigations following the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge. The MPA also stated that it has reached out to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Coast Guard, and Office of Marine Safety to offer support in the investigation process.

Additionally, the MPA disclosed that the DALI cargo ship had passed two port inspections in 2023. The first inspection occurred in June at San Antonio, Chile, during which a monitor gauge for fuel pressure was repaired. The second inspection took place in September by the Coast Guard in New York, and no issues were identified during this inspection.


Photo Credits: Wikipedia Commons License

Cover Photo above: US National Transportation Safety Board drone image of the Francis Scott Key Bridge and Cargo Ship Dali. 

By NTSBgov - This file has been extracted from another file, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=146811949


Second photo in text:

An evidence response team from the FBI examines a segment of the bridge several hours after the collapse. 


Third photo in text: 

Photo of the ship and the bridge by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers