Baltimore bridge collapse:”Personnel on board ship…undoubtedly saved lives”: Biden credits Indian crew members

A view of the Dali cargo vessel which crashed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge causing it to collapse in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S., March 27, 2024. REUTERS/Mike Segar

President Joe Biden lauded the prompt action by Indian personnel on board the cargo ship ‘Dali’ which struck the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore causing the bridge to plunge into the river below sending several people and vehicles into the water.

Shipping company Synergy Maritime Group which managed the Singapore-flagged freight ship in a statement on Tuesday, March 26, said the entire 22-member crew of the vessel are Indians.

Personnel on board the ship were able to alert the Maryland Department of Transportation that they had lost control of their vessel prompting the local authorities to close the bridge to traffic before the catastrophic impact, a move which “undoubtedly” saved lives, President Biden said during his comments at the White House regarding the Baltimore bridge collapse.

Biden said that “Everything so far indicates that this was a terrible accident. At this time, we have no other indication – no other reason to believe there was any intentional act here.”

Six people who were missing after the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed have been presumed dead, said The Maryland state police.

A drone view of the cargo vessel that crashed into the bridge in Baltimore, March 26, 2024. NTSB/Handout via REUTERS

“Officials at the scene estimate eight people were unaccounted for still — not still, were unaccounted for. That number might change. Two have been rescued — one without injury, one in critical condition. And the search-and-rescue operation is continuing for all those remaining as we speak,” the US President said.

Biden also noted that the Port of Baltimore is one of the nation’s largest shipping hubs. “It handled a record amount of cargo last year. It’s also the top port in America for both imports and exports of automobiles and light trucks. Around 850,000 vehicles go through that port every single year, and we’re going to get it up and running again as soon as possible.”
Two Guatemalan construction workers are among the missing individuals following the bridge collapse in Baltimore, CNN reported, citing, a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued late Tuesday. The missing workers have been identified as a 26-year-old from San Luis, Peten, and a 35-year-old from Camotan, Chiquimula, the statement confirmed.
Both individuals were reportedly part of a team tasked with repairing the asphalt on the bridge at the time of the accident.

By Tuesday night, the U.S. Coast Guard moved from a search and rescue effort to a recovery mission. Maryland Gov. Wes Moore, in one of several press briefings, noted how the crew on board the Dali, issued the alert which gave authorities time to stop the flow of traffic on the bridge.

National Public Radio reported authorities were investigating why the ship veered off course to hit the bridge. Chair of the National Transportation Safety Board, Jennifer Homendy, revealed that the voyage data recorder had been recovered.  “We do have the data recorder,” she told CNN on Wednesday morning. “We’ve sent that back to our lab to evaluate and begin to develop a timeline of events that led up to the strike on the bridge, and he hope to that information to share with the public later today.” Crew of the Dali would also be interviewed, she said.

Reuters reported the disaster “has forced the indefinite closure of the Port of Baltimore, one of the busiest on the U.S. Eastern Seaboard, and created a traffic quagmire for Baltimore and the surrounding region.”



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