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Baltimore Bridge Collapse

Written Hannah Guanti 

In the early hours of March 26, a cargo ship off course collided with Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore. The bridge was in active use when the collision occurred, including eight construction workers. 

The incident occurred when a Dali Cargo Ship lost internal power. Operators attempted to slow or change the ship’s course but it was too late. It collided into one of the bridge’s supports, collapsing the entire structure in moments. 

Before the collision, the cargo ship emitted a mayday call which allowed officials to reroute traffic to prevent further losses. 

Two of the construction workers were rescued immediately after. The remaining six have been located deceased or presumed dead. The majority of these workers are first generation Americans establishing their home and livelihoods in Maryland. It is not clear why they were not removed from the bridge when the mayday call was issued. 

The crash will likely have a major impact on the Baltimore Port, a large east coast hub. Without the Key Bridge, it is likely cargo shipping will be impeded, as well as the commuter traffic that utilized the bridge. 

President Joe Biden has approved millions in Emergency Federal Aid to help repair the bridge. The first goal right now remains clearing the debris, locating the victims, and ensuring a timely return to shipping. 

Governor Wes Moore has utilized an all-hands-on-deck mentality, with a fleet of ships to survey and repair the site. 

There are also concerns about the contents of the containers that remain in the Baltimore Harbor. Tens of them may contain toxic materials so must be treated with caution. 

Bridge collapses are not common but about half of them occur in the United States.