Internet InfoMedia dispatch from emergency responders captures moment baltimores key bridge collapsed

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Dispatch audio from emergency responders captured the tense atmosphere after a cargo ship rammed into Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge early Tuesday, causing it to be completely destroyed. 

Operators of the Dali cargo ship had issued a mayday call that the vessel had lost power moments before the crash, but the ship still headed toward the span at “a very, very rapid speed,” Maryland Gov. Wes Moore said.

The 985-foot-long vessel struck one of the 1.6-mile long bridge’s supports, causing the span to break and fall into the water within seconds.

An emergency responder could be heard on the dispatch audio mentioning that construction workers had been operating on the bridge during the collapse, and an “unknown amount of those workers [were] in the water.” That prompted a call for a dive team. 

PHOTOS: MARYLAND’S FRANCIS SCOTT KEY BRIDGE COLLAPSE

In an aerial view, the cargo ship Dali sits in the water after running into and collapsing the Francis Scott Key Bridge

In an aerial view, the cargo ship Dali sits in the water after running into and collapsing the Francis Scott Key Bridge on March 26, 2024, in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

Later in the call, another dispatcher says the “main portion” of the bridge had collapsed into the water, causing vehicles to be “plummetted and submerged” in the water. Dispatchers also mention that police have begun stopping vehicles from entering the bridge. 

Another dispatcher described it as a “mass casualty” incident. 

“Can you make notifications to all the local hospitals in the area?” a dispatcher says. 

Francis Scott Key Bridge March 23, 1977

The Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore was opened on March 23, 1977, according to a Facebook shared on the anniversary of its opening, on March 23, 2024. (Maryland Department of Transportation Facebook)

Two people were later reported as having been rescued. Six construction workers repairing potholes on the bridge were still missing Tuesday afternoon and presumed dead. Jeffrey Pritzker, executive vice president of Brawner Builders, said they were working in the middle of the span when it came apart.

The ship, owned by Singapore-based Grace Ocean Private Ltd., had been moving at 8 knots, or roughly 9 mph. All crew members, including the two pilots, have been accounted for and there were no reports of injuries on the vessel.

Cargo ship Dali is seen in the distance as rescuers work near by

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 26, 2024. (REUTERS/Julia Nikhinson)

An inspection of the Dali last June at a port in Chile identified a problem with the ship’s “propulsion and auxiliary machinery,” according to Equasis, a shipping information system. The deficiency involved gauges and thermometers, but the website’s online records did not elaborate.

A wide view of the collapsed Key Bridge in Baltimore

View of the Dali cargo vessel which crashed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge causing it to collapse in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S., March 26, 2024. (REUTERS/Nathan Howard)

The most recent inspection was conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard in New York in September. The “standard examination” did not identify any deficiencies, according to the Equasis data.

Federal inspectors rated the 47-year-old bridge in fair condition, but the structure did not appear to have pier protection to withstand the crash, experts said.

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The ship had managed to send out a warning which enabled authorities to limit vehicle traffic on the span. The accident also occurred at 1:30 a.m., meaning it was well before the busy morning rush. 

Fox News Digital’s Brooke Curto contributed to this report.

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