Baltimore Bridge Collapse: Here’s What You Need to Know

You’ve seen the footage of the Baltimore bridge collapse by now, which is insane.  Here’s a quick recap, and the latest info we’ve seen . . .

1.  A massive 984-foot-long cargo ship lost power and all controls, then rammed into a support pillar just before 1:30 A.M. Eastern yesterday.  A huge span of the bridge collapsed into the river six seconds later.

The Francis Scott Key Bridge opened in 1977, and the whole thing was over 1.6 miles long.  Not all of that fell, but a huge section over the water did . . . around 3,300 feet, or two-thirds of a mile.

2. Eight construction workers were on the bridge when it fell.  Last we heard, they were still looking for six of them who were there repairing potholes.  Sadly, the company they work for said they’re all presumed dead.  Two other construction workers got pulled from the water alive.  It doesn’t look like any other vehicles were on the bridge, but they’re still not sure.

3.  Things could have been a lot worse if it had happened during rush hour.  The bridge handled around 30,000 cars a day.  The cargo ship crew immediately sent out a mayday when their controls went, and there’s audio of cops coordinating to stop traffic before the bridge fell.  They only had about 100 seconds to act.

4.  President Biden said there’s no indication it was terrorism.  He also said the federal government should pay to rebuild the bridge, and called on Congress to act.  He noted the Port of Baltimore is one of America’s largest shipping hubs, and 15,000 jobs depend on it.  It’s blocked off indefinitely.  Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen said rebuilding the bridge will be a “long and expensive” process.

5.  Traffic in Baltimore will also be a mess for a while.  The bridge was a major artery in and out of the city.  Thousands of people will have to change their route, and should expect their commute to take longer than usual for quite some time.

6.  The National Transportation Safety Board planned to get onto the ship today.  They say a team of experts are investigating what happened, including what went wrong with the ship and any possible issues with the bridge itself.  But Maryland Governor Wes Moore said it was “fully up to code.”

7.  A ton of people have been googling “Who was Francis Scott Key?”  He was a lawyer from Maryland, most famous for writing the lyrics to “The Star-Spangled Banner”(The music was written by British composer John Stafford Smith.)

(CNN, Fox News, and The Baltimore Sun are posting updates.  USA Today did a round-up of photos.)