INTERNATIONAL

All-Indian crew on container ship that collided with Baltimore bridge

The entire 22-member crew of the cargo ship that collided with a major bridge in Baltimore early Tuesday, causing it to snap and plunge into the river below, are Indians, the company said.

A helicopter flies over a container ship as it rests against wreckage of the Francis Scott Key Bridge on Tuesday, March 26, 2024, as seen from Pasadena, Md. (AP)

“All crew members, including the two pilots, have been accounted for and there are no reports of any injuries. There has also been no pollution,” ship management company Synergy Marine Group said in a statement.

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The incident occurred at around 1:27 a.m. ET (10:57 am IST) when the container ship ‘Dali’ navigating down the Patapsco River en route to Sri Lanka struck a pylon of the bridge, causing nearly the entire structure to crumple into the river.

The vessel, registered under Grace Ocean Pte Ltd and flying the Singapore flag, was heavily laden with containers, capable of carrying up to 10,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU), though it was carrying 4,679 TEU at the time of the collision.

A construction crew working on the bridge sustained casualties, with eight individuals falling into the river’s icy waters, where temperatures measured a chilling 8°C. Of the eight, two were rescued, one unhurt, and another critically injured, leaving six individuals still unaccounted for.

Eyewitnesses captured the shocking moment on video as the bridge crumpled into the waters of the Patapsco River below, with several vehicles plummeting into the chilly depths. The vessel itself caught fire, shrouding the scene in thick black smoke. Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott described the sight as “an unthinkable tragedy,” likening it to something out of an action movie.

Scott declared a state of emergency in response to the bridge collapse.

Maryland state senator Johnny Ray Salling, who was from the area, said the bridge plays a vital role in not only transportation, but also commerce.

“Losing this bridge will devastate the entire area, as well as the entire East Coast,” said Salling, a Republican.

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