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11 TV Hill: The aftermath of the collapse of the Key Bridge

Posted on April 17, 2024

What was once the Francis Scott Key Bridge partially collapsed on a cargo ship in the Patapsco River is a sight that doesn’t get any easier to see.

Almost three weeks since the disaster, the recovery effort hasn’t slowed, and although you may not be able to tell by your eyes alone, the progress is great.

Recover the victims, re-open the channel and rebuild the Key Bridge, those are all the focuses of Maryland’s mission to bring closure and commerce back to the Patapsco River.

The Coast Guard is spending each day removing containers from the Dali cargo ship, which is critical to refloating the vessel and removing it from the water.

This week, the National Transportation Safety Board said it believes an electrical failure caused the ship to crash into the Key Bridge. The ship lost power right before the Dali collided with the bridge. Hyundai, the ship’s manufacturer, sent its own employees to the ship to download electrical system data and examine the ship’s circuit breakers.

A high-ranking U.S. Army Corps of Engineers commander spoke with 11 News about the Key Bridge collapse. Tommie Clark was in Sparrows Point with his take on the progress happening in the Patapsco River.

And, Tradepoint Atlantic has been a good neighbor to the port, even before the catastrophic collapse. The waterfront industrial center is accepting bridge recovery material and cargo ships redirected from the Port of Baltimore. David Collins got a firsthand look at the operations.

The container ship Dali crashed into Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge shortly before 1:30 a.m. on March 26, 2024, causing the 47-year-old structure to collapse into the Patapsco River.

Maryland Transportation Authority police officers were able to close the bridge to traffic in the seconds before impact. Video showed two vehicles crossing the bridge within 30 seconds of the bridge’s collapse.

Crews rescued two people, but six members of a construction crew working on the bridge were unable to get to safety. After a lengthy search-and-rescue effort, crews recovered two men’s bodies from a pickup truck found under about 25 feet of water, Alejandro Hernandez Fuentes, 35, of Baltimore, and Dorlian Ronial Castillo Cabrera, 26, of Dundalk. A third man, Maynor Yasir Suazo-Sandoval, 38, was recovered on April 5. Crews recovered a fourth man’s body on April 15, who authorities in Mexico identified as Carlos Daniel Hernández.

The 1.6-mile Francis Scott Key Bridge opened in March 1977 as the final link of the Baltimore Beltway\Interstate 695, crossing over the Patapsco River and connecting Sparrows Point to the southernmost tip of Baltimore. It was a four-lane bridge with a vertical clearance of 185 feet. According to an MDTA report issued in November, the Key Bridge carried more than 12.4 million commercial and passenger vehicles in 2023.

The downed bridge blocks access to the Port of Baltimore is one of the busiest American ports, handling some 52 million tons of cargo that contributes to $80 million in U.S. trade. It’s the busiest port in the country for cars and light trucks. The Coast Guard opened temporary channels to allow essential commercial vessels to move through the impacted area.

On April 15, the Associated Press reported that the FBI is conducting a criminal investigation that is focused on the circumstances leading up to the bridge collapse and whether all federal laws were followed. The same day, the city of Baltimore announced a partnership with two law firms to “launch legal action to hold the wrongdoers responsible” and mitigate harm to the people of Baltimore. At the beginning of April, the companies linked to the Dali filed a petition in court for protection when it comes to liability.


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