29 MAR 2024

Officials recovered the bodies of two construction workers who were on Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge when it collapsed early Tuesday morning after a 984-foot-long cargo ship collided into a pillar.

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore called the collapse Wednesday “a global crisis.”

“The national economy and the world’s economy depends on the Port of Baltimore. The port handles more cars and more farm equipment than any other port in the country,” Moore said.

Here’s what you should know:

  • The victims: The six people who are presumed deadwere from Mexico Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, according to Col. Roland L. Butler Jr, the superintendent of Maryland State Police. Two bodies were recovered and have been identified as Alejandro Hernandez Fuentes from Mexico and Dorlian Ronial Castillo Cabrera from Guatemala. The two workers were filling potholes on the bridge and were later found trapped in a red pickup truck in about 25 feet of water, Butler said. The FBI is handling notifying the victims’ families, Butler said.
  • Recovery efforts: Authorities are pausing search effortsfor the four other workers who are presumed dead, because additional vehicles are encased in concrete and other debris, making it unsafe for divers, Butler said. Once salvage operations clear the debris, divers will search for more remains, he said.
  • The investigation:The National Transportation Safety Board is leading the investigation into the fatal incident, according to the agency’s chair Jennifer Homendy. During a Wednesday news conference, Homendy said there were 21 crew members and two pilots on board the Dali cargo ship when it crashed into the bridge. She also said a senior NTSB hazmat investigator identified 56 containers of hazardous material, and that some containers are in the water. The agency received six hours of voyage data from the ship and the investigation could take 12 to 24 months to complete, Homendy said. She emphasized that NTSB will not analyze information collected or provide conclusions while on scene of the collapse.
  • Looking forward: Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said rebuilding the bridge will not be “quick or easy”but that it will get done. He said there are four main focus points ahead: reopening the port, dealing with supply chain issues until its reopening, rebuilding the bridge and dealing with traffic issues until the bridge is rebuilt. Biden pledged the full support of the federal government in the response and recovery efforts. His administration has already conveyed a sense of urgency to open up federal funding to remove debris and ultimately rebuild the bridge. Maryland has submitted a request to the Biden administration for emergency relief funds “to assist in our work going forward,” Moore said Wednesday.

It’s almost impossible to place people on the bow of ship due to the unstable structure, fire official says

Baltimore City Fire Chief James Wallace said Wednesday that the cargo ship’s bridge structure and containers at the bow remain unstable.

“It’s going to be very difficult, if not impossible, and very dangerous, to place people on the bow of that boat right now,” Wallace told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins.

“Naturally, we’re still very cognizant of the fact that there are hazardous materials on board the vessel itself,” Wallace said, alluding to the National Transportation Safety Board saying earlier that 56 containers were carrying hazardous materials.

Wallace said his team is relying heavily on aerial recognizance, including drones. “That’s the only way we’re able to see in,” he said.

He added that the aerial surveillance has “been able to really assure us right now we have no [chemical] reactions on board.”

“It’s just utter devastation,” NTSB chief says of the bridge collapse site

From CNN’s Aditi Sangal

Jennifer Homendy, chair of the National Transportation Safety Board, called the site of the Key Bridge collapse “devastating.”

“It’s pretty devastating, certainly, seeing not just what’s going on with the cargo containers, but just looking at what was a bridge span — three bridge spans that is pretty much gone. It’s just utter devastation,” she said at Wednesday evening’s news briefing.

She added that she is thinking of families who lost loved ones and those who are waiting to reunite with their lived ones.

NTSB interviewed the Dali’s captain and some other crew members today, agency chief says

From CNN’s Aditi Sangal

The National Transportation Safety Board has interviewed the ship’s captain, his mate, the chief engineer and one other engineer today, according to Chair Jennifer Homendy.

The two pilots on board the Dali at the time of collision will be interviewed tomorrow, she added.

Cargo ship’s voyage data recorder is basic when compared to an airplane’s, NTSB chair says

From CNN’s Tori B. Powell

The voyage data recorder on the cargo ship Dali was a “newer model” but is considered basic when compared to that on an airplane, according to National Transportation Safety Board Chair Jennifer Homendy.

“But it is very basic compared to say, a flight data recorder, where we would have 1,000 parameters,” she said at a news conference on Wednesday.

The NTSB chief investigator Marcel Muise added:

“It’s not a ship-wide system recorder, so most of the sensors that are being recorded are from the bridge. So things like GPS, the audio, rudder feedback, rudder commands are recorded on there. But not engineering, the temperature of each cylinder, power distribution sensors.”

 There were no tug boats with Dali at the time of the collision. That’s normal, NTSB chief says

From CNN’s Aditi Sangal

People look at the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge while visiting Fort McHenry in Baltimore on Wednesday. Julia Nikhinson/Reuters

There were no tugs with Dali when the cargo vessel collided with Baltimore’s Key Bridge, which is normal protocol, according to National Transportation Safety Board Chair Jennifer Homendy.

Remember: At 01:26:39 on Tuesday, Dali’s pilot made a general very high frequency (VHF) radio call for tugs in the vicinity to assist, the NTSB investigator Marcel Muise had said.

“The tugs help the vessel leave the dock, leave the port and get into the main ship channel. And then they leave. Once it’s on its way, it’s a straight shot through the channel. So there are no tugs with the vessel at the time. So they were calling for tugs,” she said.

NTSB chair says she saw some containers that were carrying hazardous materials in the water

From CNN’s Tori B. Powell

National Transportation Safety Board Chair Jennifer Homendy said she did see some of the 56 containers that were carrying hazardous materials in the water.

When asked how many

When asked how many containers of hazardous materials were in the water, Homendy said:

“I did see some containers in the water, and some breached significantly on the vessel itself,” she said.
“I don’t have an exact number, but it’s something that we can provide in an update.”

Homendy said that a preliminary report should be out in two to four weeks.

Bridge did not have any redundancy, unlike the preferred method for building bridges today, NTSB chair says

From CNN’s Aditi Sangal

Baltimore’s Key Bridge did not have any redundancy, which is included in the preferred method of building bridges in the present day, according to National Transportation Safety Board Chair Jennifer Homendy.

“The bridge is a fracture critical,” she explained. “What that means is if a member fails that would likely cause a portion of, or the entire bridge, to collapse, there’s no redundancy. 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,” Homendy said.

There are 17,468 fracture critical bridges in the United States out of 615,000 bridges total, she said, citing the Federal Highway Administration.

The NTSB investigator in charge of the bridge collapse investigation provides a timeline of crash

From CNN’s Aditi Sangal

Cargo ship Dali is seen after running into and collapsing the Francis Scott Key Bridge on March 26, in Baltimore, Maryland. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Marcel Muise, the National Transportation Safety Board investigator in charge, provided the following timeline of events as provided by the recovered voyage data recorder (VDR).

  • Approximately 12:39 a.m. ET:The ship departed from Seagirt Marine Terminal.
  • By 1:07:The ship had entered the Fort McHenry Channel.
  • 01:24:59:Numerous audible alarms were recorded on the ship’s bridge audio. About the same time, VDR sensor data ceased recording. The VDR audio continued to record using the redundant power source, Muise said.
  • 01:26:02:VDR resumed recording sensor data and during this time, steering commands and rudder orders were recorded on the audio.
  • 01:26:39: The ship’s pilot made a general very high frequency (VHF) radio call for tugs in the vicinity to assist. About to this time, Muise said, the pilot association dispatcher phoned the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) duty officer regarding the blackout.
  • Around 01:27:04: The pilot ordered the Dali to drop the port anchor and ordered additional steering commands.
  • Around 01:27:25: The pilot issued a radio call over the VHF radio, reporting that the Dali had lost all power and was approaching the bridge. Around this time, the MDTA data shows the following also occurred: Their duty officer radioed two of their units that were already on scene due to construction on the bridge — one on each side of the bridge — and ordered them to close traffic on the bridge. All lanes were then shut down by MDTA.
  • Around 01:29:The ship’s speed over ground was recorded at just under 8 miles per hour. From this moment on approximately 1:29:33, the VDR audio recorded sounds consistent with the collision of the bridge. Additionally, around this time, MDTA dash cameras show the bridge lights extinguishing.
  • 01:29:39:The pilot reported the bridge down over the VFH radio to the Coast Guard.

 Investigation could hopefully take 12 to 24 months, NTSB chair says

From CNN’s Tori B. Powell

The investigation into the cargo ship crash into Key Bridge could take up to two years, according to National Transportation Safety Board Chair Jennifer Homendy.

“We have an amazing team of individuals who are focused on very specific areas of expertise and so I have no doubt that we will be able to pull this together in hopefully 12 to 24 months,” she said Wednesday at a news conference.

She called the investigation “a massive undertaking” and said there are “many different components to the investigation.”

“It’s multimodal,” Homendy said, noting that “this is not new for the NTSB.”

“We’ve conducted other investigations of bridge strikes, bridge collapses,” she said.

 NTSB received 6 hours of voyage data from ship that crashed into bridge, investigator says

From CNN’s Tori B. Powell

Approximately six hours of voyage data from the Dali cargo ship that hit the Key Bridge in Baltimore has been provided to the National Transportation Safety Board, according to Marcel Muise, NTSB investigator in charge.

The footage was recovered by the US Coast Guard on the morning of the accident and contains footage from midnight to 6 a.m. ET, Muise said at a Wednesday news conference.

“The NTSB is continuing to obtain more data,” Muise said.

 Hazmat investigator identified 56 containers of hazardous materials, NTSB chief says

From CNN’s Aditi Sangal

A senior hazmat investigator from the National Transportation Safety Board looked at the cargo and cargo manifest today, identifying 56 containers of hazardous material, agency Chair Jennifer Homendy said Wednesday.

“He was able to identify 56 containers of hazardous materials. That’s 764 tons of hazardous materials — mostly corrosives, flammables, and some miscellaneous hazardous materials, class nine hazardous materials, which would include lithium ion batteries,” she said at a news briefing.

Some of the hazmat containers “were breached,” she said, adding that sheen was seen on the waterway.

There were 23 individuals on the cargo ship at the time of the accident, NTSB chair says

From CNN’s Tori B. Powell

In an aerial view, cargo ship Dali is seen after running into and collapsing the Francis Scott Key Bridge on March 26, in Baltimore, Maryland. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

There were 21 crew members and two pilots onboard the Dali cargo ship when it crashed into Baltimore’s Key Bridge, according to the National Transportation Safety Board Chair Jennifer Homendy.

The NTSB is leading the investigation, Homendy has said. The board will try to determine what occurred onboard Dali and also look at the structure of the bridge itself.

Read more about what investigators are working on here.

NTSB won’t provide conclusions and analysis while on scene, agency chief says

From CNN’s Aditi Sangal

The National Transportation Safety Board Chair Jennifer Homendy speaks during a press conference on Wednesday, March 27. Pool

The National Transportation Safety Board Chair Jennifer Homendy emphasized the agency will not analyze information collected or provide conclusions while on the scene of the Key Bridge collapse.

“It’s really important for folks to understand that we will not analyze any of the information we are collecting. We will not provide any sort of findings, conclusions or any safety recommendations while on scene,” she said.
Our entire focus on scene is to collect the perishable evidence — that’s documenting the scene, it’s taking photographs, it’s taking any sort of electronics or components, whatever goes away once the scene is cleaned up,” she said.

NOW: NTSB is sharing updates on the Key Bridge collapse

The National Transportation Safety Board is holding a news conference to share updates about the Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore.

NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy is expected to speak.

Officials pause recovery efforts for 4 workers presumed dead after bridge collapse

From CNN’s Aditi Sangal and Elise Hammond

Authorities are pausing search and recovery efforts for the four additional people who are presumed dead after the bridge collapse, Col. Roland L. Butler Jr., the superintendent of Maryland State Police said Wednesday evening.

“At this point, based upon the conditions, we are now moving from a recovery mode to a salvage operation,” he said.

“Because of the superstructure surrounding what we believe were the vehicles and the amount of concrete and debris, divers are no longer able to safely navigate and operate around that,” he said. “We have exhausted all search efforts.”

The superintendent added that based on sonar scans, officials believe that the vehicles are “encased in the superstructure and concrete” of the bridge.

Butler Jr. added that there is “no definitive timeline” for how long the salvage phase will take, once it is complete, the divers will go back to the site.

“The sonar simply said they cannot get to that area because it was fully encased in the superstructure,” he said. “Once that salvage effort takes place and that superstructure is removed, those same divers are going to go back out there and bring those people closure,” he added.

Brother of a missing person from bridge collapse describes him as “a man who dreamed big”

From CNN’s Michael Rios

The brother of a person presumed dead after the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed earlier this week described him as a “man who dreamed big.”

“I could describe him as a dynamic person, as a visionary person, a man who dreamed big,” said Martin Suazo Sandoval, brother of Maynor Suazo Sandoval.

He told CNNE in Honduras on Wednesday that his brother was an industrial mechanical technician and went to the United States to fulfill his dreams. However, after the pandemic, Maynor Suazo Sandoval had to look for an additional job to have more income and found work at a bridge supervision and maintenance company.

Martin Suazo Sandoval said his brother believed in helping people, and sponsored minor sports leagues because he believed that by “helping the children here in the town, they would have a better childhood”.

Martin Suazo Sandoval said what they want most is for their brother’s body to be found “so we can begin to take steps to repatriate him.”

First responders worked quickly to get people off bridge after first mayday call, governor says

From CNN’s Elise Hammond

After the Dali ship sent out its first mayday signal, first responders leapt into action to both move people off the bridge and prevent other cars from entering it, Maryland’s governor said.

They were also notifying workers who were part of a construction crew on the bridge to leave, Gov. Wes Moore said Wednesday, as officials learn more about what happened in the moments before the collision and collapse.

“One of the survivors, who I had the opportunity to speak with, one of the things he mentioned to me was as he was moving off of the bridge — and literally saw the bridge fall right after he moved off — it was because it was a first responder who was telling him to move off the bridge,” Moore said.

The governor said the ongoing investigation will reveal more of what happened and how those responders communicated with the workers. He said this particular worker who survived said he heard the warning “audibly,” that the officer was telling him to move off.

Officials recover bodies of 2 missing bridge workers

From CNN’s Elise Hammond

Col. Roland L. Butler Jr., the head of the Maryland State Police, speaks during a press conference on Wednesday, March 27. Governor Wes Moore/Youtube

Officials have recovered the bodies of two of the missing workers who were on the Francis Scott Key bridge when it collapsed, the head of the Maryland State Police said Wednesday.

Col. Roland L. Butler Jr. said that shortly before 10 a.m. ET divers found a red pickup truck in about 25 feet of water.

Divers recovered two victims of this tragedy trapped within the vehicle,” Butler said.

He said Maryland State Police notified the families of those found about an hour ago. Their names were given as:

  • Alejandro Hernandez Fuentes from Mexico
  • Dorlian Ronial Castillo Cabrerafrom Guatemala

The workers, who were filling potholes on the bridge at the time of the incident, were from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, officials said.

Butler Jr. confirmed that both men whose bodies were found today were working for the construction company. One was identified by a driver’s license in his pocket, the other was identified by fingerprint, he said.

An inspector overseeing work was among those who fell into the water, officials say

From CNN’s Tori B. Powell

An inspector who was contracted by the state of Maryland with an engineering firm overseeing work was among victims that fell into the water following the Key Bridge collapse, according to Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul J. Wiedefeld.

Maryland governor says investigation continues into what took place on the ship prior to the collision

From CNN’s Aditi Sangal

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore said investigations continue on what happened on the ship and there are no declarative answers on possible power challenges or issues on the Dali.

“The thing that we do know is that we had documented that there were power challenges as the freight was coming up on the bridge,” Moore said. “The mayday call came in because of the power issues and the lack of ability to steer the vessel.”

“Don’t play bridge engineer online”: Baltimore mayor asks people not to spread misinformation

From CNN’s Elise Hammond

Baltimore’s mayor asked for people to have “a little bit of decency and respectwhen it comes to online discourse about the fatal bridge collapse.

Don’t spread misinformation. Don’t play bridge engineer online or in the media. Remember that these are people’s family members who have lost their lives simply trying to make transit better for the rest of us,” Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott said.

The head of Maryland State Police announced earlier that dive teams recovered the bodies of two people in the river on Wednesday. At least four other people are unaccounted for and presumed dead, the Coast Guard said.

Government will pursue funds from anybody “liable for negligence or wrongdoing,” Maryland senator says

From CNN’s Aditi Sangal

If anyone is found liable in the events that led to the collapse of Baltimore’s Key Bridge, they will be pursued to add funds to the cost-share in rebuilding, US Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland said Wednesday evening.

“As the NTSB [National Transportation Safety Board] conducts its review, we’ll have a better of exactly what happened, and if anybody is liable for negligence or wrongdoing, you can be assured that we will be pursuing those funds as part of the cost-share,” he said at a news briefing.

8 hr 43 min ago

Maryland officials are working on plans for a replacement bridge

From CNN’s Elise Hammond

A drone view of the Dali cargo vessel, which crashed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge causing it to collapse, in Baltimore, Maryland, on March 26. Maryland National Guard/Handout/Reuters

Maryland officials are working on plans to reconstruct the Francis Scott Key Bridge after it collapsed earlier this week, Sen. Ben Cardin said.

“We are also working today on a replacement bridge so that we can also have those plans in place and have the tools and resources available so that we can reconstruct the bridge as quickly as possible,” he said Wednesday.

Cardin thanked the Biden administration and federal partners for their help so far. He called on Congress to “provide the necessary authorizations, support and resources to make this recovery complete and that we can move as quickly as possible.”

He said, still, the top priority is to reopen the shipping lanes and minimize harm to the economy.





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