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Those missing after the ship collided with the Baltimore bridge are presumed dead

Those missing after the ship collided with the Baltimore bridge are presumed dead

“Based on the length of the search (…), the temperature of the water, at this time we do not believe we will find these people alive,” said Coast Guard Vice Adm. Shannon Gilreath at a press conference about the efforts. on the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

Among the missing are two Guatemalans, aged 26 and 35, the Foreign Ministry of that Central American country reported in a statement.

The head of transportation for the state of Maryland, Paul Wiedefeld, said that workers were working on “repairing potholes” in the asphalt, “nothing to do with a structural problem” on the bridge.

crash boat baltimore bridge

In images captured by video surveillance cameras, a container ship is seen crashing into a pillar of the bridge, causing a large part of the steel structure, built in 1977, to fall into the Patapsco River.

Before colliding, the MV Dali ship issued a mayday call that allowed traffic to be stopped and lives saved, the governor of the state of Maryland, Wes Moore, declared earlier.

“Those people are heroes,” added the governor, who declared a state of emergency.

The worker José Campos spoke of his missing colleagues, employees like him of the company Brawner Builders Inc.

“Very sad, first of all God, that they are still alive, I don’t know how to explain it because my heart hurts from what is happening,” he declared in Spanish to an AFP photographer.

“It’s a terrible, unforeseen tragedy,” said Jeffrey Pritzker of Brawner Builders. “None of us could imagine this could happen. We are all shocked and distraught.”

President Joe Biden called it a “terrible accident” and promised to rebuild the infrastructure as soon as possible, although “it will take a while.”

“I am directing my team to move heaven and earth to reopen the port and rebuild the bridge as soon as humanly possible,” Biden said in a brief speech from the White House.

One person was taken to the hospital in “very serious condition,” Baltimore Fire Chief James Wallace said, and another was unharmed.

Emergency services searching the scene have found signs of the presence of several vehicles submerged in the water, Wallace reported, without specifying the number.

In any case, “there is absolutely no indication that there was terrorism, that this was done on purpose,” said Baltimore Police Commissioner Richard Worley.

Maritime traffic was suspended “until further notice” but “the port remains open to the passage of trucks,” Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul Wiedenfeld told reporters.

Transportation Minister Pete Buttigieg warned that this would cause “a major and prolonged impact on supply chains.”

The 2.6 km, four-lane bridge crosses the Patapsco River southwest of Baltimore, an industrial and port city on the US Atlantic coast.

More than 11 million vehicles circulate through it a year, about 31,000 a day. It is named after Francis Scott Key, author of the lyrics of the American anthem.

The port of Baltimore is the main port on the east coast of the United States and the ninth most important in the country both in terms of the foreign cargo it handles and its value. It provides direct employment to more than 15,000 people.

The MV Dali is a recently built container ship, 300 meters long and 48 meters wide, flying the Singapore flag.

Records show the ship was headed from Baltimore to Colombo, Sri Lanka.

The Danish giant Maersk confirmed having chartered the vessel, operated by the shipping company Synergy Group.

Singapore port authorities said on Wednesday that the ship had passed two inspections in 2023 and had valid certificates for both the ship’s structural integrity and functionality.

The Chilean Navy reported that in 2023 it detected a failure in the fuel heater meter that was quickly repaired.

The investigation must determine how the collision of a single ship could destroy several arches of the metal bridge.

Although the container ship has a powerful force of inertia, “the magnitude of the damage to the bridge’s superstructure appears disproportionate to the cause,” commented Professor Toby Mottram, an expert at the British University of Warwick.

In an accident like this, it will be the insurers that will reimburse the damages, expert Mathieu Berrurier told AFP: insurance for the damages suffered by the ship and civil liability insurance for those caused to third parties.

Source: Ambito

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