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Baltimore bridge collapse:- How did the bridge collapse?

Updated: Apr 10

Baltimore, Maryland - A pall of grief hangs heavy over Baltimore after the Francis Scott Key Bridge, a vital transportation artery, partially collapsed yesterday. The cause: a collision with a cargo ship that plunged a section of the bridge into the icy waters of the Patapsco River.

Baltimore bridge collapse

The pre-dawn incident sent shockwaves through the city. While a last-minute distress call from the cargo vessel, the Dali, allowed authorities to clear traffic from the bridge moments before impact, the accident resulted in the disappearance of six construction workers who were reportedly conducting overnight repairs. Search and rescue effo

rts, valiant as they were, yielded only two survivors pulled from the river, one critically injured. With heavy hearts, officials have transitioned to a recovery operation, the grim reality settling in that the missing workers are presumed dead.

The cause of the accident remains under investigation. Initial reports suggest the Dali, flagged by Singapore, lost power and veered off course, striking a crucial bridge support. Governor Wes Moore declared a state of emergency, pledging all available resources to the ongoing investigation and the support of the impacted families.

The bridge collapse, a devastating blow to Baltimore's infrastructure, is expected to cause significant disruptions in the coming days. Beyond the logistical challenges, the city grieves. The loss of life and the close call for countless others weave a narrative of tragedy. As investigators work tirelessly to piece together the events that led to the disaster, Baltimore grapples with the aftermath, a community united in mourning and the fervent hope that such a tragedy will never occur again.

New information emerges regarding the Baltimore bridge collapse as investigators delve deeper. While the cargo ship, Dali, was traveling at a modest speed of 8 knots (roughly 9 mph or 15 kph) at impact, experts point to the vessel's immense weight as a key factor.

"The ship's mass translated into a tremendous force upon hitting the bridge support," explained Roberto Leon, a Virginia Tech engineering professor. "The bridge pier, simply put, couldn't handle it."

Professor Leon elaborated, stating that the pier's design allowed for some bending, but not enough to absorb the energy from the colossal ship. This ultimately resulted in a catastrophic break.

Adding further complexity, concerns have been raised about the bridge's lack of protective measures around its piers. "Without proper safeguards," said Professor Leon, "a bridge pier is extremely vulnerable to a collision with a ship of this size."

This revelation comes as a surprise, considering a federal inspection last June deemed the 47-year-old bridge to be in fair condition. The apparent absence of adequate pier protection raises questions about the bridge's overall preparedness for such an event.

As the investigation unfolds, these insights provide a clearer picture of the potential causes behind the Baltimore bridge collapse. Determining the exact sequence of events and identifying any potential shortcomings in bridge maintenance will be critical in preventing similar tragedies from occurring in the future.

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