Six presumed dead in aftermath of Baltimore bridge collapse


NTSB is leading the investigation into the collision and estimates that damage to the vessel and the bridge exceed USD 500,000.

6 presumed dead in aftermath of Baltimore bridge collapse
Screenshot/NTSB B roll footage © NTSB

Six people are presumed dead after the United States Coast Guard (USCG) called off the search and rescue operation overnight in the aftermath of the Baltimore bridge collapse that occurred on Tuesday.

The Francis Scott Key Bridge fell into the water after one of its beams was struck by Singapore-flagged containership Dali, owned by Grace Ocean Pte Ltd and managed by Synergy Marine.

Several vehicles that were on the bridge fell into the water together with a number of construction workers who were on the bridge at the time. The six individuals in question are believed to be part of a road construction crew.

Initial reports from the local media indicate that two people were rescued, one with serious injuries.

Search and rescue efforts were underway throughout the day before being suspended overnight.

The containership had 22 crew members and two pilots on board when the collision took place, however, Synergy said that only one crew member sustained minor injuries and that he had already been treated and discharged from hospital.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to everyone affected and their families. Our thoughts are with them as we coordinate closely with the authorities to manage the incident’s aftermath, including environmental impact assessments,” Synergy Marine said in an update.

“Our Emergency Response Team has been dispatched and is presently at Baltimore to support the ongoing efforts to ensure crew safety, maintain vessel integrity and facilitate the swift and safe reopening of the waterway.”


Several investigations into the cause of the accident are underway.

Authorities from USCG and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) boarded the vessel to carry out investigations, according to Synergy.

NTSB has released video footage of the vessel which remains stuck under a portion of the bridge structure. Namely, a portion of the collapsed bridge remains across the vessel’s bow, and the vessel remains in the vicinity of the bridge pier. No pollution has been reported at this time, NTSB said.

According to the safety board, initial damage estimates to the vessel and the bridge exceed USD 500,000.

This accident was classified by the US Coast Guard as a major marine casualty.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy said that NTSB was leading the investigation and that the USCG will have a supportive role in the process.

Homendy noted that a team of experts would look into the vessel’s operational safety history, the owner, the operator, the ship’s operations on the day of the accident as well as company policies and the safety management systems.

Human performance experts, structural engineers, and bridge experts are also joining the expert team.

Numerous questions were raised during the press briefing on whether the ship had time to drop anchor when the power went out and when it was on a collision course with the bridge.

Homendy noted that it was still too early to discuss the causes of the accident as there was still a lot of conflicting information, adding that the critical part of the investigation is expected to be the voyage data recorder.

Commenting on the current priorities, Homendy stressed that the focus was on the families of the victims and rescue efforts and not on the cleanup activities.

“There is no specific and credible information to suggest any ties to terrorism at this time. The investigation is ongoing. FBI Baltimore will continue to support our partners at the local, state, and federal levels,” FBI Baltimore said.

Maryland Governor Wes More, who declared a state of emergency in the state yesterday, said that after the suspension of rescue operations at Key Bridge, recovery would be launched in cooperation with the Maryland State Police at 6 a.m. local time.

U.S. President Biden said that the Government plans to send all the federal resources necessary to respond to the emergency.

“Everything so far indicates that this was a terrible accident. Personnel on board the ship were able to alert the Maryland Department of Transportation that they lost control of the vessel. As a result, the local authorities were able to close the bridge to the traffic before the bridge was struck, which undoubtedly saved lives,” Biden said in a press conference yesterday.

As explained, the Army Corps of Engineers will lead the effort to clear the channel to allow for the resumption of vessel traffic.

Biden pointed out that the government would do everything possible to get the Port of Baltimore, one of the nation’s largest shipping hubs and the top port in the U.S. for imports and exports of automobiles and light trucks, up and running as soon as possible.

“I have directed my team to move heaven and earth to reopen the port and rebuild the bridge as soon as humanely possible,” Biden said, stressing that the federal government would pay the entire costs for the reconstruction of the bridge.

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