Governor: ‘Heroes’ Managed to Stop Traffic Driving Onto Baltimore Bridge at Last Minute, Saved Lives

EDGEMERE, MARYLAND - MARCH 26: The cargo ship Dali is shown after running into and collap
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The Governor of Maryland has revealed there was enough time between the MV Dali issuing a distress call and the collision with the Baltimore bridge for traffic to be blocked from driving onto it, saving lives.

Governor Wes Moore spoke to the press pack in Baltimore on Tuesday morning and while evasive on many questions, including how many members of the public were on the bridge at the time of its collapse, did confirm there were efforts to prevent any more vehicles from driving onto the bridge once it was known disaster was imminent.

It is not presently clear how much warning the city and port authorities had, but it is certainly the case there were fewer vehicles on the bridge at the time of impact than there had been just minutes earlier, when 18-wheelers and cars were seen regularly crossing.

Governor Wes Moore speaks at a news conference at the Maryland Department of Transportation campus near the bridge. Lt. Governor Aruna Miller is on left; Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski is behind them, as well as Senate President Bill Ferguson. (Barbara Haddock Taylor/The Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

As reported earlier, the MV Dali was seen to suffer a total loss of power just four minutes and 20 seconds before the impact. If that was the first time the crew were aware of a problem and they radioed ashore immediately, it means authorities were able to communicate the situation to people on the ground prevent more cars and trucks crossing onto the Bridge in just minutes.

Governor Moore said:

…we can confirm that the crew notified authorities of a power issue… the thing that we know, you know, is that even as the boat that was coming in. We had a ship that was coming in at eight knots, so coming in at a very rapid speed. We do know that the investigation is currently going on. But I have to say I am thankful for the folks that who, once the warning came up, the notification came up that there was a mayday, who literally by being able to stop cars from coming over the bridge, these people are heroes. They saved lives last night.

…the investigation is still going on to find out exactly how many people and the whole situation. But the thing we do now is that many of the vehicles were stopped before they got onto the bridge which saved lives in a very, very heroic way.

While Moore refused to confirm or deny whether members of the public were on the bridge at the time of it being struck by the ship, causing an immediate and catastrophic failure of the structure, it was confirmed there was an eight-man construction team on the bridge at that time. Their work was not structural, said Maryland Secretary of Transportation Paul J. Wiedefeld, and the team were just filling potholes.

Wiedefeld said of those eight, two had been rescued from the water so far. One of those was admitted to hospital and the other — incredibly, given the distance of the fall and the frigid waters of the river Patapsco River at 0130 EST — was released without needing treatment. The remaining six have yet to be accounted for.

Governor Moore said the state was doing “everything in our power to rescue the victims of this collapse as we speak” and that divers and air assets were involved.



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