6 dead in US bridge collapse; Biden thanks Indian crew for mayday call

Six construction workers who went missing after the Francis Scott Key Bridge in US's Baltimore city collapsed are presumed dead, while search operations to locate them have been suspended.
6 dead in US bridge collapse; Biden thanks Indian crew for mayday call
Anjali Raj / Jaano Junction

US authorities have said that the six construction workers who went missing following the collapse of the 2.57 km-long Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore city after it was hit by a container ship, were presumed to be dead. US President Joe Biden also thanked the Indian crew members aboard the ship to being able to alert authorities that they lost control of their vessel.

The ship is now wedged into debris from the Francis Scott Key Bridge, which is 3 km-long and part of a major highway.

The bridge, which was a main thoroughfare for drivers between New York and Washington who want to avoid downtown Baltimore, collapsed at around 1.30 am (US local time) on Tuesday after the container ship named the Dali, which had 22 Indian crew members on board, crashed into it.

The Indian crew members, including the two pilots aboard the container ship, are said to be safe and secure. They had informed the authorities about a "power issue" before the collision.

Here's all that has happened so far.

He said the overnight conditions had proved to be challenging for the rescue workers and divers would return to the waters of River Patapsco at around 6 am on Wednesday (US local time) when conditions are expected to improve.

"Our hearts are with the families and loved ones of the victims. We will continue to work in partnership with leaders at the local, state, and federal levels to ensure that we can provide all those affected with the closure they deserve," he said in a tweet.

Meanwhile, Jeffrey Pritzker, executive vice president of Brawner Builders that employed the construction workers, also said that the six construction workers were presumed dead taking into account the depth of the river water, while another worker was hospitalised.

The Singapore-flagged Dali container ship, with 22 Indian crew members on board, crashed onto the Francis Scott Key Bridge within minutes of departure from the Baltimore port, according to a Reuters news agency report. The cargo vessel was heading to Colombo, Sri Lanka.

About a minute later, the lights flicker back on, but go dark again, with smoke emanating from an unknown part of the ship. At 1.27 am, the vessel collided with one of the piers of the bridge and a minute later, the roadway of Francis Scott Key Bridge began collapsing.

US President Joe Biden said that it was his "intention that the federal government will pay for the entire cost of reconstructing" the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

According to a statement released by the White House, the President told the authorities in Maryland, including state Governor Wes Moore and Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, that "we’re going to send all the federal resources they need as we respond to this emergency... And we’re going to rebuild that port together".

When asked at a White House briefing on why the US federal government would pay for the repairs if the ship and its operator were to be blamed, Biden said, "That could be, but we’re not going to wait if that happened. We’re going to pay for it to get the bridge rebuilt and open."

The chief of the American Pilots’ Association, a trade association for maritime pilots, said the pilot of the Singapore-flagged container ship tried to slow down the vessel before it collided with the Baltimore bridge, the Associated Press reported.

Diamond also claimed that the ship's pilot "immediately ordered the rudder hard to port to keep the ship from turning right and ordered the port anchor to be dropped".

"Pilots board the ships before they enter the local waterways and take navigational control of the ship," he said, adding that "these are among the most highly trained mariners in the world".

A person involved in the bridge collapse has been discharged from the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Centre at the University of Maryland Medical Centre.

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6 dead in US bridge collapse; Biden thanks Indian crew for mayday call

Jesus Campos, an employee with Brawner Builders, said when a co-worker informed him of the disaster, he immediately recalled that his six colleagues were working on the bridge,

Source ANI

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