Heart-pounding audio of Baltimore cops rushing to stop traffic going over Francis Scott Key Bridge as it collapsed after being hit by the Dali: ‘The whole bridge just collapsed… I can’t get to the other side!

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Written By Maya Cantina

This is the harrowing audio of Baltimore officials as they rushed to stop traffic on the bridge seconds before it collapsed after being struck by a cargo ship.

The ship’s crew issued a mayday call moments before the crash took down the Francis Scott Key Bridge on Tuesday morning, enabling authorities to limit vehicle traffic on the span, Maryland’s governor Wes Moore said.

About 90 seconds after they mayday call, another is heard on the audio reporting the bridge has collapsed.

Baltimore officials had about 90 seconds to divert cars from the bridge after the Dali issued a mayday call on Tuesday morning 

The ship - the Singaporean-flagged Dali - was 20 minutes into its journey when it slammed into a support column on the bridge

The ship – the Singaporean-flagged Dali – was 20 minutes into its journey when it slammed into a support column on the bridge

The ship's crew managed to issue a Mayday before it crashed into the bridge, which allowed officials to stop cars from going on the bridge

The ship’s crew managed to issue a Mayday before it crashed into the bridge, which allowed officials to stop cars from going on the bridge

An injured person was pictured being loaded into an ambulance after getting taken off the ship following the collapse

An injured person was pictured being loaded into an ambulance after getting taken off the ship following the collapse

‘I need one of you guys on the south side, one of you guys on the north side, hold all traffic on the Key Bridge,’ one person is heard saying.

‘There’s a ship approaching that just lost their steering so until we get that under control, we’ve got to stop all traffic.’

‘The whole bridge just fell down. Start, start whoever … everybody. The whole bridge just collapsed,’ they said.

Another person then says: ‘I can’t get to the other side, sir. The bridge is down.’ 

The ship struck one of the bridge’s supports, causing the structure to collapse like a toy. It tumbled into the water in a matter of seconds — a shocking spectacle that was captured on video and posted on social media. The vessel caught fire, and thick, black smoke billowed out of it.

With the ship barreling toward the bridge at ‘a very, very rapid speed,’ authorities had just enough time to stop cars from coming over the bridge, Gov. Moore said.

‘These people are heroes,’ Moore said. ‘They saved lives last night.’

The crash happened in the middle of the night, long before the busy morning commute on the bridge that stretches 1.6 miles  and was used by 12 million vehicles last year.

The six people still unaccounted for were part of a construction crew filling potholes on the bridge, said Paul Wiedefeld, the state’s transportation secretary. One of those rescued was taken to a hospital, he said.

Multiple vehicles also went into the water, although authorities did not believe anyone was inside.

‘Never would you think that you would see, physically see, the Key Bridge tumble down like that. It looked like something out of an action movie,’ said Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, calling it ‘an unthinkable tragedy.’

Rescue personnel gather on the shore of the Patapsco River during search and rescue efforts

Rescue personnel gather on the shore of the Patapsco River during search and rescue efforts

Rescue personnel gather on the shore of the Patapsco River

Rescue personnel gather on the shore of the Patapsco River

State officials are using sonar detection devices to search for the crew members who fell into the 47F water as they were working to repair potholes on the 185-foot bridge when it collapsed.

Governor Moore declared a state of emergency Tuesday morning following the catastrophic collision, which occurred at about 1.30am. The ship – the Singaporean-flagged Dali – was 20 minutes into its journey when it slammed into a support column on the bridge.

President Joe Biden addressed the bridge collapse from the White house shortly after noon EST, saying he has spoken with Maryland officials and told them he will be sending federal aid.

‘To the people of Baltimore – We’re with you, were going to stay with you as long as it takes,’ he said. the port of Baltimore if one of the nation’s main shipping ports and we’re going to get it up and running again as soon as possible.’

Biden added he has directed his team to work on rebuilding both the port and bridge ‘as soon as humanely possible’ and plans on visiting Baltimore as ‘soon as he can.’

Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul J. Wiedefeld said eight people were on the bridge when it collapsed, and two of them were rescued from the water, with one declining medical treatment and the other being taken to the hospital before being released.

Officials said they have spotted five vehicles submerged under water thanks to infrared and side-scan sonar technology – three passenger vehicles, a cement truck and a fifth vehicle.

Astonishing footage shows the moment the vessel plowed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, sending the colossal steel structure crashing into the Patapsco River

Astonishing footage shows the moment the vessel plowed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, sending the colossal steel structure crashing into the Patapsco River

'Pilots move ships in and out of the Port of Baltimore,' said Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul Wiedefeld at a news conference Tuesday

‘Pilots move ships in and out of the Port of Baltimore,’ said Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul Wiedefeld at a news conference Tuesday

Maryland Governor Wes Moore (C) walks with staff and law enforcement along the shore of the Patapsco River

Maryland Governor Wes Moore (C) walks with staff and law enforcement along the shore of the Patapsco River

It remains unclear what led to the crash. Video shows the ship going dark seconds before the collision, suggesting a power failure on board. The crew of 22 remains onboard and is now being questioned by the Coast Guard.

In the latest update by officials, gov Moore said divers and air assets are currently working ‘to save lives’ and will update the public as the work continues.

‘I recognize that many of us are hurting and scared right now,’ the Democrat said just before 10am.

‘I want to be clear, we are still investigating what happened, but our preliminary findings points to an accident, we haven’t seen any credible evidence of a terrorist attack.’

FBI special agent in charge of the Baltimore office William DelBagno said ‘there is no specific or credible information to suggest there are ties to terrorism in this incident.’

The collapse is sure to create a logistical nightmare for months, if not years, for the East Coast, shutting down ship traffic at the Port of Baltimore and snarling cargo and commuter traffic.

According to The Baltimore Sun, the Dali was setting off on a particularly long voyage of 28 days because the crew wanted to go around South Africa to avoid the Red Sea, where Yemeni Houthi rebels have been attacking western ships to protest the war in Gaza.

It was not immediately clear what caused the cargo ship to crash into the bridge long before the busy morning commute in what one official called a ‘developing mass casualty event’ in a major American city just outside of Washington. 

According to an early Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) report, the container ship ‘lost propulsion’ as it was leaving port.

‘The vessel notified MD Department of Transportation (MDOT) that they had lost control of the vessel and an allision with the bridge was possible,’ the report said. ‘The vessel struck the bridge causing a complete collapse.’

The ship crashed into one of the bridge’s supports, causing the structure to snap and buckle at several points and tumble into the water in a matter of seconds — a shocking spectacle that was captured on video and posted on social media. The vessel caught fire, and thick, black smoke billowed out of it.

The rescue effort incorporates Coast Guard ships, local police boats, Baltimore’s Fire Department, volunteer fire departments from the surrounding areas as well as teams of divers as the desperate search for survivors goes on.

There appeared to be an explosion on the container ship as it collided with the bridge sending container and diesel flooding into the water. One of the vehicles that fell to the water was a tractor-trailer.

The ship was not being piloted by its own crew but by local pilots who are used to specifically avoid accidents.

The ship involved is the 948 foot long Dali, a Singaporean-flagged container which could be seen on ship tracking websites positioned stationary under the bridge following the crash.

It left Baltimore’s Seagirt Marine Terminal at 12:24am, at 1:25am, is began to slow and diverted off of its course. The video shows lights going off on board just before the crash.

The Dali ship was bound for Colombo, Sri Lanka. It’s unclear what cargo it was holding. The vessel was due to land in Asia on April 27.

According to the ship’s owners, all crew members were accounted for with no injuries reported.

ᴀʀᴛɪᴄʟᴇ ꜱᴏᴜʀᴄᴇ

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