Baltimore: The ship’s crew probably prevented a major catastrophe

After a bridge collapsed in the US city of Baltimore, it became increasingly clear that the crew of the ship, which was unable to maneuver, probably saved many lives.

Meanwhile, the government in Washington approved $60 million in emergency aid.

The more we learn about the bridge collapse in Baltimore, Maryland, the clearer it becomes: Both the crew of the damaged container ship and the first responders did a lot right – and clearly prevented a major catastrophe.

There was only about a minute and a half between the distress call from the ship’s crew and the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge. At 1:27 a.m. and 25 seconds local time, the ship’s pilot reported: The “Dali” had a power failure and was heading straight for the bridge. Traffic stopped there immediately – as can be heard on the radio. “Stop all traffic on the Key Bridge. There’s a ship coming that can’t steer anymore.”

The emergency call came too late for six construction workers

The “Dali” had previously dropped anchor to slow down. At around 1:29 a.m. the container ship nevertheless rammed a support pillar of the bridge – which immediately collapsed.

The emergency call came too late for most of the construction workers who were on the bridge to repair potholes. Six of them are dead, one was rescued from the water of the Patapsco River. Another could literally see the bridge collapsing behind him. He survived because he was warned just in time. Maryland Governor Wes Moore said this in a press conference.

Police responded quickly

There is currently no information that other vehicles may have been on the bridge. This is probably thanks to the quick reaction of the police, who stopped the traffic. Or a lucky coincidence – like taxi driver Gayle Fairman. If her passenger hadn’t been a little late, she could have been right on the bridge at the time of the collapse, she told CNN.

Fairman was in the front line of her car crossing the bridge over the Patapsco River when she was stopped by a police officer. At this point the Key Bridge had already collapsed.

Transport Minister: Death toll could have been much higher

Without the efforts of rescue workers, the emergency call, the immediately stopped traffic and the time of day, the death toll could have been much higher, said US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

In addition, in the days after the accident, the important work of the divers was repeatedly highlighted. Despite the dangerous conditions in the cold water – amid the bridge’s rubble – they were able to recover two bodies on Wednesday. “The dedication, determination and selflessness of our first responders should never be questioned,” said Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott.

Washington provides $60 million in emergency aid

The US government has now promised emergency aid worth 60 million dollars, around 56 million euros. In order for the Port of Baltimore to be reopened to shipping traffic, the container ship – which is trapped under bridge rubble – must first be removed. It will take a while until this is achieved, says Governor Wes Moore: The “Dali” is almost as long as the Eiffel Tower.

The preliminary report on exactly how the accident occurred is expected in two weeks at the earliest. It will take much longer for Baltimore and all of Maryland to process the last few days.

Baltimore: 2 bodies recovered from the water

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