Hazardous Material Containers 'Breached' During Baltimore Bridge Collapse: NTSB

Tyler Durden's Photo
by Tyler Durden
Friday, Mar 29, 2024 - 09:15 PM

Authored by Katabella Roberts via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The scene after the cargo ship Dali struck the Francis Scott Key Bridge a day earlier causing it to collapse, in Baltimore, Md., on March 27, 2024. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The cargo ship that crashed into Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge on March 26 was carrying more than 50 hazardous material containers, some of which were breached during the collapse, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

NTSB chair Jennifer Homendy said during a press conference on March 27 that the agency, which is currently probing the crash, had obtained a cargo manifest of the 984-foot-long Singapore-flagged cargo vessel named Dali.

The vessel—which reportedly lost power while transiting out of Baltimore Harbor and struck the bridge—had 56 containers of hazardous materials on board at the time of the incident, Ms. Homendy said.

The NTSB chair said a senior hazmat investigator had identified the containers.

That’s 764 tons of hazardous materials—mostly corrosives, flammable, and some miscellaneous hazardous materials—class nine hazardous materials which would include lithium-ion batteries,” Ms. Homendy said.

“Some of the hazmat containers were breached,” she added.

Asked how many of the containers were in the water, the NTSB chair could not provide an exact number.

“I did see some containers in the water and some breached significantly on the vessel itself,” she said. “I don’t have an exact number but it’s something that we can provide in an update and certainly in our preliminary report which should be out in two to four weeks.”

‘Sheen’ Observed On Water Around Collapse

Officials have also observed a sheen—sometimes caused by gasoline or oil—on the waterway surrounding the collapsed bridge that spans the Patapsco River. According to Ms. Homendy, federal, state, and local authorities are aware of this and are currently working to address those issues.

The NTSB as part of our safety investigation documents that type of release, it documents the damage and and documents the type of materials involved as part of our investigation,” Ms. Homendy said.

Asked by one reporter to characterize the level of concern regarding the hazardous material leak and the sheen on the water, Ms. Homendy declined to respond and directed him to state and local authorities.

The NTSB will also not provide any of its findings while the investigation remains ongoing, Ms. Homendy noted.

Dali struck the Francis Scott Key Bridge at about 1:27 a.m. on March 26 while leaving the harbor, according to officials.

The incident resulted in the bridge collapsing moments later while eight construction workers—who officials say were from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras—were filling in potholes.

Police Recover Bodies

Two of the workers were rescued on March 26 soon after the collapse, officials said. One of them was uninjured and the other was hospitalized in a “very serious condition” but later released.

On March 27, police announced that two bodies had also been recovered during search-and-recovery efforts.

The families of Alejandro Hernandez Fuentes, 35, and Dorlian Castillo Cabrera, 26, have been notified, Col. Roland L. Butler Jr., superintendent of the Maryland State Police, said.

Police discovered their bodies inside a pickup truck that was submerged approximately 25 feet below water in the Patapsco River, around the middle section of the bridge, according to the superintendent.

The two men were with the company, Brawner Companies, doing maintenance on the bridge deck, he said.

The U.S. Coast Guard is continuing recovery efforts in the search for the remaining four missing individuals.

According to Ms. Homendy, the 95,000 gross-ton container ship also sustained damage during the incident, although none of the 21 crew members and two pilots who were onboard at the time sustained significant injuries.

Officials have praised those on board for saving countless lives by raising a mayday alarm just moments before the incident, allowing authorities to limit traffic on the bridge before it collapsed.