Saturday, July 13, 2024

Two bodies are found and details of the unfolding drama are revealed


Police in Maryland, the state where Baltimore is located, announced during a press conference that “divers located a red pick-up truck at a depth of approximately 7.6 meters.” “The two victims of the tragedy were prisoners of the vehicle.” The recovered bodies were identified as those of two men, ages 35 and 26, from Mexico and Guatemala, who were part of a crew of workers on the Francis Scott Key Bridge roadway when the accident occurred.

Remove the metal structure from the water

The bodies of their four colleagues, all presumed deadOfficials added that it is yet to be found. But especially because of the amount of concrete and debris, “divers can no longer safely navigate” toward “what we believe are trapped vehicles,” said Roland Butler of the Maryland State Police. So rescuers will try to remove the structure from the water.

Officials warned Tuesday evening that they did not think they would “find these people alive anymore,” adding that two members of their crew were rescued after the tragedy. The victims, according to American press from Latin America, were repairing the ruts of the bridge when it collapsed into the Patapsco River.

The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) on Wednesday provided a detailed timeline of the tragedy based on a preliminary analysis of the container ship's data recorder.

What happened ?

The 300-meter-long, 48-meter-wide Dali, flying the Singaporean flag, left the port of Baltimore at 12:39 p.m. (4:39 a.m. GMT) on Tuesday for Asia, said researcher Marcel Muse. NTSP, during a press conference. At 1:24 a.m. local time, alarms on the ship began to sound, indicating propulsion problems. The pilot radioed port authorities that the vessel was heading for the bridge and requested the tugboats' intervention.

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Due to the work two crews from the local transport authority on the bridge were called for assistance. The latter closed all traffic lanes, thus probably saving lives. Then, at 1:29 a.m., the ship's recorder recorded “sounds consistent with a collision.”

The bridge, which is used by tens of thousands of vehicles every day, later collapsed like a house of cards, with entire sections of the structure ending up in the boat. Dramatic video surveillance footage shows the container ship veer off course, crash into pilings of the bridge, which opened in 1977, and then collapse.

To US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, “This type of bridge […] Not designed to withstand direct impact against the base pillar. The crew tried in vain to lower the anchor and slow the ship's course. Officials have said that it was an accident in the initial investigation.

No environmental hazard

President Joe Biden has pledged that the federal government will “pay the full cost of rebuilding” the bridge named after the lyricist of the US national anthem, admitting it will take time.

Since the issue is economics: This four-lane bridge, 2.6 km long, lies on the economically important north-south axis of the East Coast of the United States.. For now, sea traffic has been “suspended until further notice,” officials said. The Port of Baltimore is the ninth largest in the nation by operations and generates more than 15,000 jobs.

Container ships await on Baltimore's coast as ocean traffic is halted.

Jim Watson/AFP

The Dali is “stable” and does not represent a danger to the environment and the public, despite the 5.6 billion liters of diesel and a few containers of dangerous goods, Peter Gautier, in charge of the coast guard, assured on Wednesday. Out of the total 4,700 containers, two containers fell into the water.

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Agapito Llano
Agapito Llano

"Alcohol enthusiast. Twitter ninja. Tv lover. Falls down a lot. Hipster-friendly coffee geek."



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