Baltimore Key Bridge collapse latest news: Biden to visit city next week as crews clear wreckage

Baltimore to receive $60 million in federal funds to rebuild

Enormous cranes have started to arrive in Baltimore to help clear the wreckage after the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge — an essential step before recovery efforts to find the missing construction workers continue, officials say.

A massive cleanup operation is now underway to clear the wreckage of the bridge from the river, with huge crane ships, and thousands of relief workers headed for Baltimore.

One of the cranes, the Chesapeake 1000, is capable of lifting 1,000 tonnes — but the bridge is estimated to weigh around three or four times that, so it will need to be cut into sections, Gov Moore said.

The wreckage needs to be cleared to help advance recovery efforts, after diving operations were suspended Wednesday night due to “security concerns,” as well as to reopen the channel and ultimately rebuild the bridge, the governor added.

Divers are waiting for “the first word” that conditions are safe and clear to examine beneath the wreckage and “recover any of these individuals that perished in this unfortunate incident,” Col Roland Butler of the Maryland State Police said.

To understand the scale the teams are working with, the governor said that the “freight” was roughly the size of the Eiffel Tower.

President Biden also announced he has approved $60m in initial aid to rebuild the bridge. He said he plans to visit the city next week.


Remembering the victims: Alejandro Hernandez Fuentes

Two bodies have been recovered from the Patapsco River after the deadly collapse of the bridge, officials announced on Wednesday.

Alejandro Hernandez Fuentes, 35, of Baltimore was one of the men discovered by divers who spotted a submerged red pickup truck in around 25 feet of water.

Fuentes, originally from Mexico, was a construction worker, found trapped inside the vehicle alongside Dorlian Ronial Castillo Cabrera.

The tragic announcement was made at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, held by personnel from the US Coast Guard, the Maryland Department of Transportation and state Governor Wes Moore.

One of the victims was identified by a driver’s license in his pocket, another by a fingerprint, Colonel Roland L Butler, superintendent of the Maryland Department of State Police said.

Kelly Rissman30 March 2024 01:00


Pete Buttigieg calls conspiracy theories around the bridge collapse ‘upsetting’

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg called it “upsetting” that in the face of tragedy – the collapse of Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key bridge – conspiracy theories have circulated to explain what caused the disaster that left six people to be presumed dead.

CNN’s Kaitlan Collins pointed out there have been “wild conspiracy theories” about what caused the disaster, ranging from a cyberattack, the captain having side effects from a Covid-19 vaccine, and blaming the Obamas.

She asked Mr Buttigieg whether he thought he would have to combat these conspiracy theories in the midst of a crisis?

“We’re in the business of dealing with roads and bridges and sometimes ships and trains,” he said. “So we are not in the habit as a Department of Transportation, of being in the business of dealing with conspiracies, or conspiracy theories or that kind of wild thinking. But unfortunately, it is a fact of life in America today.

“What’s really upsetting is when misinformation or disinformation circulates, that is not without victims.

Kelly Rissman30 March 2024 00:00


What we know about the container vessel Dali

All members of the crew were accounted for after the crash.

The Dali’s 22-member crew and its two pilots were all safe, Synergy Marine Group said in a statement. One crew member sustained “minor” injuries and has since been treated and discharged from the hospital. The injured crew member returned to the vessel on 27 March, the company said.

Interviews conducted by the NTSB with the two pilots of the Dali container ship are scheduled for Thursday, 28 March.

Jennifer Homendy, NTSB chair, said that an interview with the ship’s captain had taken place on 27 March, along with the mate, chief engineer and one of the other engineers. She added that the container ship currently has power, but is stationary.

“They are not sitting in the dark, but it cannot move,” she said.

The boat’s length overall (LOA) is 299.92 metres and its width is 48.2 metres.

The Dali had just set sail and had only travelled just over four miles from the Seagirt Marine Terminal in the Port of Baltimore before it collided with the west side of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, according to VesselFinder.

It was about to embark on a 27-day journey to Colombo, Sri Lanka, which is roughly 10,220 miles, although it only managed to complete a fraction of its journey – about 30 minutes – before it crashed.

A view of the Dali cargo vessel, following the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge


While the vessel “had a fairly good safety record,” Mr Buttigieg noted, the Dali had reportedly been involved in another “incident” back in 2016, port authorities told CNN.

The same ship that struck the Francis Scott Key Bridge was also involved in an incident at the Port of Antwerp in Belgium, the outlet reported.

According to Vessel Finder, the Dali reportedly collided with the side of the stone wall quay as it was leaving the port, and consequently damaged the stern and transom of the vessel.

The incident was reportedly blamed on a mistake by the ship’s master and pilot onboard and there were no injuries.

Separately, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore said that the Dali had “passed previous foreign port state inspections,” according to a 27 March statement.

While the vessel passed two separate foreign port inspections in June and September 2023, the agency noted that during June, the ship suffered from a “faulty monitor gauge for fuel pressure,” which was “rectified before the vessel departed the port.”

In June 2023, a port in Chile reported an issue with the fuel heater’s pressure gauges before it was fixed before departing, the Associated Press reported.

The Independent has asked the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore to clarify at which foreign ports the inspections took place.

Kelly Rissman29 March 2024 23:00


WATCH: NTSB releases new video on board Dali ship after Baltimore bridge collapse

NTSB releases new video on board Dali ship after Baltimore bridge collapse

Kelly Rissman29 March 2024 22:00


The latest updates on the bridge collapse response

Maryland Gov Wes Moore laid out four directives:

1) Continue recovery efforts when it is safe.

The governor noted that because of current conditions, it is unsafe for divers to continue searching for the missing people, who have been presumed dead.

A team of divers is on standby, “waiting for the first word that it is safe and it is clear to go in and examine what’s beneath the wreckage and recover any of these individuals that perished in this unfortunate incident,” Col Roland Butler of the Maryland State Police said.

2) Clear the channel and open the vessel traffic to the port.

Four massive cranes are coming in to help lift the wreckage. Two have arrived, one arrives tonight and the fourth is arriving on Monday, Mr Moore said.

“One of the cranes is called the Chesapeake 1000 and it can lift about 1000 tonnes,” but the challenge is that the Key Bridge, which sits on top of the vessel right now, weighs somewhere between 3000 and 4000 tonnes, “so the bridge needs to be cut into sections, he explained.

“We need to clear the channel and open the vessel traffic to the port. Because the health of the Maryland economy and the national economy depend on it,” the governor added.

3) Taking care of those who have been affected by this crisis.

The governor urged legislators to pass a measure “to support the families and the victims of the bridge collapse, and everyone else who has been affected by this emergency.” Mr Moore also said he will “push for legislation that seeks to protect workers like the six victims of the Key Bridge collapse.”

He added that he will be proposing that a permanent state scholarship be created for the children of surviving spouses of workers who lost their lives in the disaster.

4) Rebuilding the bridge.

“We cannot rebuild the bridge until we have cleared the wreckage,” the governor clarified.

Echoing his previous warning, he said at the press conference that the operation will not take days, weeks, or months, and that there is a “long road” ahead.

Kelly Rissman29 March 2024 21:40


Remembering the victims: Miguel Luna

Miguel Luna was the first of six victims who went missing when the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed on Tuesday to be named.

Luna is one of the men who is now presumed dead, his wife María del Carmen Castellón told NBC sister station Telemundo 44 in Spanish.

After the bridge collapsed Ms Castellón said family members like her were able to get into the restricted zone while they desperately waited to hear news of their loved ones.

“They only tell us that we have to wait, that for now, they can’t give us information,” she said earlier in the day.

“[We feel] devastated, devastated because our heart is broken because we don’t know if they’ve rescued them yet. We’re just waiting to hear any news.”

One relative of Luna’s also told Sky News they were “distraught” as they waited to hear news, and that some family members were taken to a location in Baltimore by police, where they could be with families of the other missing people.

His loved ones reportedly said he is from El Salvador and has children.


Luna was also identified by the non-profit organisation Casa, which provides services around Baltimore and other areas to immigrant communities.

“Miguel Luna, from El Salvador, left at 6:30 p.m. Monday evening for work and since, has not come home. He is a husband, a father of three, and has called Maryland his home for over 19 years,” Casa wrote in a statement.

One of Luna’s children, Marvin Luna, told The Washington Post that he knew his father was working on the Key Bridge overnight but did not know it collapsed until one of his friends called him up and said, “The bridge is … gone.”

Marvin then called his father’s phone, but there was no reply.

Kelly Rissman29 March 2024 21:20


The Francis Scott Key Bridge

Before the Francis Scott Key Bridge catastrophically plummeted into the Patapsco River, the structure had stood for 47 years in its completion as the final link in the I-695 (the Baltimore Beltway).

The bridge got its name from Francis Scott Key, the man who penned the US national anthem The Star-Spangled Banner, who also happens to be a distant cousin and the namesake of the writer F Scott Fitzgerald.

The Maryland native was thought to be close to where the bridge was eventually erected when he witnessed the bombardment of Fort McHenry in 1814, inspiring him to write the words to the anthem, the Maryland Transportation Authority wrote on its website.

It took five years to complete the bridge, between 1972 and 1977 and carried some 11.3 million vehicles a year before it fell into the river on Tuesday.

The four-lane steel bridge spanned 1.6 miles across the river and had 185 feet of vertical clearance.

The bridge leads up to the Port of Baltimore, which is the US’s busiest port for car shipments, according to data from the Maryland Port Administration, Reuters reports, as well as being the largest US port by volume for handling heavy farm and construction machinery.

NTSB Chair Homendy said that the bridge was “fracture critical” but had been in “satisfactory condition” prior to the crash.

The last inspection of the bridge occurred in May 2023. The structure receives over 30,700 vehicles crossing it each day, Ms Homendy said.

“The bridge is fracture critical. What that means is if a member fails, that would likely cause a portion of or the entire bridge to collapse,” Ms Homendy told a press conference on 27 March.

“The preferred method for building bridges today is that there is redundancy built in whether that’s transmitting loads to another member or some sort of structural redundancy. This bridge did not have redundancy.”

There are 17,468 “fracture critical” bridges in the United States out of around 615,000 bridges total, according to the Federal Highway Administration (FHA).

“This bridge was in satisfactory condition,” Ms Homendy added. “The last fractional fracture critical inspection was in May 2023. We have not been able to go through that inspection and all the documents that but that will occur after we leave the on-scene portion [of the investigation].”

Earlier on Wednesday US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said that while the bridge took five years to build, “that does not necessarily mean it will take five years to replace.”

Kelly Rissman29 March 2024 21:00


Biden approves $60m emergency aid

An emergency relief fund approved by the federal government will cover the “lion’s share” of costs to rebuild the Francis Scott Key bridge in Baltimore, officials have said, after an initial $60m was released to state authorities.

The “quick release” funds were applied for and approved on Thursday, and will also go towards current recovery efforts, though state Governor Wes Moore warned of a “very long road” to recovery.

On Wednesday, it was announced that two bodies had been recovered from the Patapsco River after the collapse of the bridge on Monday.

State officials announced they have suspended recovery operations, citing safety concerns for divers and an inability to reach vehicles still trapped within the submerged remains of the structure. The mission is now a salvage one, officials said.

Mike Bedigan has the full story…

Kelly Rissman29 March 2024 20:40


The force of the Dali striking the bridge is comparable to a rocket launch: Report

The force at which the Dali collided with the Francis Scott Key Bridge on Tuesday was comparable to a rocket launch, a New York Times analysis found.

Taking a low estimate of the amount of force it would take to slow the fully-loaded vessel, the publication put it at around 12 million newtons. That is roughly one-third of the force it took to launch the rocket used for the Apollo moon missions, the outlet wrote.

Higher estimates put the force of impact at around 100 million newtons.

“It’s at a scale of more energy than you can really get your mind around,” said Ben Schafer, a Johns Hopkins professor of civil and systems engineering.

Kelly Rissman29 March 2024 20:20


WATCH: Maryland governor says freight that hit Baltimore bridge was ‘nearly’ size of Eiffel Tower

Maryland governor says freight that hit Baltimore bridge was ‘nearly’ size of Eiffel Tower

Kelly Rissman29 March 2024 20:00

source site-26

Leave a Reply