NAfter the collapse of a 2.5-kilometer long bridge in Baltimore that was rammed by a container ship early Tuesday morning, the governor of the US state of Maryland, Wes Moore, declared a state of emergency. As can be seen in the video of the accident, the nearly 300-meter-long Dali crashed into a pillar of the Francis Scott Key Bridge at around 1:00 am.

The footage also shows large sections of the metal structure falling into the Patapsco River. According to preliminary estimates, at least 20 construction workers who were renewing the road surface on the bridge and several car or truck drivers fell into the cold water of around eight degrees. In the first hours after the bridge collapse, at least two people were rescued from the Patapsco River with serious injuries, and six construction workers were missing.

The Coast Guard, police and fire services continued to search for survivors with boats and divers on Tuesday. Force spokesman Kevin Cartwright called the crash “an evolving incident with multiple casualties.” Rescue attempts were complicated by several containers stuck on the remains of the bridge.

Allegedly, the power went out

The Singaporean-flagged container ship left the port of Baltimore shortly after midnight as emergency services have so far reconstructed it. Almost an hour later, Dali rammed a bridge pillar for unknown reasons. The video footage shows smoke rising from the ship just before the collision. In addition, Dali's power is said to have failed at least twice in the seconds leading up to the crash. According to trade service Trade Winds, the crew of the container ship was uninjured. It was initially unclear what kind of cargo Dali was loading. He was reportedly on his way to Sri Lanka, where he was due to arrive in four weeks.

Named after Francis Scott Key, the poet and author of the American national anthem “Star Spangled Banner”, the bridge opened 47 years ago. It was one of three toll plazas in the Port of Baltimore, one of the busiest ports in the United States. The “Key Bridge,” as the steel structure was called, also carried the four-lane I-695 highway over the Patapsco River. Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul Wiedefeld said Tuesday that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has now opened an investigation into the bridge collapse. Investigators found no evidence of a terrorist attack.

The White House also confirmed that it found “no malicious intent.” “Our thoughts are with the families of those who have gone missing following this terrible incident,” a spokesman said. American President Joe Biden is being kept informed of the rescue operation. Biden himself promised federal aid at a press conference at the White House on Tuesday night, German time. He also stated that he wanted to ensure that the cost of reconstruction would be borne entirely by the federal government. Biden promised Maryland Gov. Wes Moore to take all steps to rebuild the bridge and reopen the Port of Baltimore, just beyond the Francis Scott Key Bridge, “as quickly as humanly possible.”

According to US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, the collapse of the Baltimore bridge will also have economic consequences. Because of the importance of the port behind it, we're already preparing for supply chain issues “that we know are coming,” Buttigieg said at a press conference at the site on Tuesday afternoon (local time). They would not only affect the surrounding area. Baltimore, “but the entire US economy.”

The disaster reminded many Americans of the collapse of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Tampa Bay, Florida 44 years ago. At the time, a cargo ship caused parts of the bridge to collapse when it went out of control in strong winds and crashed into a pier. 35 people died in the accident, including the passengers of the bus.

After Tuesday's accident in Baltimore, some observers noticed that the container ship had made an unusually wide arc before hitting the pier. They also pointed out on social media that the Dali control system would also have failed in the event of a possible power outage.

Gov. Wes Moore confirmed at a news conference Tuesday morning that crews said there were power issues. Initial investigation points to an accident. The container ship's crew sent out a distress signal shortly before the collision, which allowed officials to stop traffic so that no more cars could enter the bridge. “These people are heroes. You saved lives last night,” he said.

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ABC television also reported a “driving failure,” citing a government official. “The vessel advised the Maryland Department of Transportation that it had lost control and that a collision with the bridge was possible,” the station quoted the Department of Cyber ​​Security and Infrastructure as saying.