What we know about the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore

Follow our live coverage of the Collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore.

A huge container ship collided with the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday. Most of the bridge collapsed into the Patapsco River.

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore declared a state of emergency shortly after the ship struck the bridge, part of Interstate 695 and a key East Coast transportation link to one of the country’s largest ports. Shipping traffic has now been stopped.

Officials suspended search and rescue efforts Tuesday evening and the six missing construction workers are presumed dead.

Governor Moore said there was no credible evidence of a terrorist attack. The priority, he said, is a Coast Guard-led search operation to try to find people who may have been on the bridge.

Here’s what we know.

It is unknown and the National Transportation Safety Board said it is investigating.

The 985-foot-long cargo ship named Dali was leaving the port of Baltimore when it lost power and made an emergency call just before hitting a critical component of the bridge, a so-called pylon or pier. Radio traffic from rescue workers indicated that the crew was having difficulty steering the ship, according to an audio recording released by Broadcastify. Most of the ship’s lights went out abruptly, just over two minutes before the ship reached the bridge.

According to a joint statement from the ship’s owner and manager, Baltimore harbor pilots were steering the ship at the time of the crash, as is typical when ships enter ports or canals.

Governor Moore said the bridge was fully within code and the collapse did not appear to be due to a structural issue.

Coast Guard and state police officials said the construction workers had been missing for too long to hope for rescue, citing frigid water temperatures. Col. Roland L. Butler of the Maryland State Police said divers would attempt to return to the water to recover the bodies.

Two other workers were rescued from the water, including one who was hospitalized and released.

At least one of the missing men was an immigrant from El Salvador, according to We are Casa, a nonprofit organization that provides services to Baltimore’s immigrant community.

Miguel Luna, 40, is married with three children, said Gustavo Torres, the organization’s executive director. He learned that Mr. Luna was one of the missing people from Mr. Luna’s family. He said Mr. Luna has lived in Maryland for at least 19 years.

According to MarineTraffic, a maritime data platform, the Dali is registered in Singapore and was en route to Colombo, Sri Lanka. It carried 4,700 shipping containers, according to Synergy Marine, its manager and operator. However, according to the company, the ship’s capacity could accommodate around twice as many.

An inspection of the ship last year at a port in Chile revealed that the ship had a shortage of gauges and thermometers.

The Dali has conducted 27 inspections since 2015, according to a database from Equasis, a public website that advocates for maritime safety. The only other defect, a damaged hull “impairing seaworthiness,” was discovered in the port of Antwerp in 2016. The Ship crashed into a stone wall this year in the harbor. A spokesman for Dali owner Grace Ocean Investment declined to comment on the shortage discovered last year.

Despite the emergency call, the road repair crew and their vehicles remained on the bridge, authorities said. It is not clear why they did this.

At the same time, the ship’s 24 crew members, including two Port of Baltimore pilots who were operating the ship at the time of the crash, were held accountable, and there were no injuries among those on the ship, the owners said. There were 22 Indian citizens on board.

Construction of the bridge began in 1972 and was completed in March 1977. The bridge spans 1.6 miles over the Patapsco River, but the overall structure of the crossing, including its connecting approaches, is nearly 11 miles long.

According to a, more than 12.4 million passenger and commercial vehicles crossed the bridge in 2023 Maryland State Government Report.

The collapse might have been avoided, some engineers said, if the pylons supporting the bridge had been better protected by blocking devices called fenders. This can be anything from simple pyramids of stones piled around the pylons to large concrete rings padded with wooden slats. But the protection should have been able to absorb a hit from such a large container ship.

President Biden said he expects the federal government to cover the “entire cost” of rebuilding the bridge and called on Congress to support efforts to fund the repairs.

Reporting was contributed by Peter Eavis, Miriam Jordan, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Jacey Fortin, James Glanz, Annie Correal, Michael D. Shear, Luke Broadwater, Jenny Gross, Patricia Mazzei and Jin Yu Young.

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