What we know and don't know about Baltimore's Key bridge collapse

What we know and don't know about Baltimore's Key bridge collapse

A container ship rests against wreckage of the Francis Scott Key Bridge as night falls on Tuesday, March 26, 2024, as seen from Sparrows Point, Md.

Matt Rourke/AP

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Matt Rourke/AP

A container ship rests against wreckage of the Francis Scott Key Bridge as night falls on Tuesday, March 26, 2024, as seen from Sparrows Point, Md.

Matt Rourke/AP

Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge, a major transportation route for commuters and truckers, collapsed early Tuesday morning, leaving six people unaccounted for and presumed to be dead.

Here’s what we know:

Who was involved?

Authorities say eight people, all construction workers who were repairing potholes on the bridge, fell into the Patapsco River below after the collision. Two were rescued, with one person in critical condition while the other person refused medical treatment, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott said.

The remaining six people are still unaccounted for. The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search and rescue efforts late Tuesday night and said the six people are presumed to be dead, given the amount of time that had passed since the collapse and the temperature of the water. They will resume recovery efforts Wednesday morning.

Twenty-two people were aboard the ship and are all accounted for, said Synergy Marine Group, the company that manages the ship.

Photos: Baltimore's Key Bridge collapses; search and rescue efforts continue

How did it happen?

The ship, named the Dali and measuring nearly 1,000 feet, lost power as it began moving toward the bridge at about 8 knots, or 9.2 miles per hour. Those onboard issued a mayday, which gave authorities time to stop the flow of traffic on the bridge.

The Dali crashed into one of the bridge’s support pillars and parts of the structure came down immediately, at about 1:30 a.m.

Have there been any previous incidents involving the ship or bridge?

The ship has had 27 previous inspections. In 2016, it sustained significant damage to its hull after hitting a dock while leaving a port in Antwerp, Belgium. Last year, the ship was found to have a problem with “propulsion and auxiliary machinery,” according to Equasis, a maritime safety site.

The Key bridge, which is four lanes, 1.6 miles long and carries about 11.3 million vehicles a year, was fully up to code and had no structural issues, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore said.

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Will the bridge be rebuilt?

Moore said the bridge will be rebuilt, but would take some time. President Biden said the federal government would cover the costs.

“We’re gonna get it up and running again as soon as possible,” Biden said. “Fifteen-thousand jobs depend on that port, and we’re gonna do everything we can to protect those jobs and help those workers.”

What we don’t know

Authorities have not yet given information about the captain and how the ship ended up moving toward the bridge. The National Transportation Safety Board, the FBI and state officials are investigating.

The economic impact is also unknown. About $80 billion worth of cargo goes through the Port of Baltimore each year, including about 850,000 cars and trucks. The port also provides 15,000 jobs, with about $3.3 billion in personal income, $2.6 billion in business revenue and $400 million in tax revenue, according to the state.

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