Moore: No indication bridge collision was intentional

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Intentionality is not believed the cause of a Singapore company’s cargo ship hitting Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge in the early morning hours Tuesday.

In a morning press conference, Maryland Gov. West Moore said it appears the ship lost power and “preliminary evidence points to an accident.”

Moore added that a local crew was piloting the crew of the Southeast Asian-bound ship, the Dali, to help navigate it through the port at the time of the collision.

Prior to the collision, the ship’s crew sent out a “mayday” alerting authorities to lost power, allowing transportation and law enforcement to stop the flow of traffic onto the bridge, which Moore credits for saving countless lives.

“These people are heroes,” Moore lamented.

Maryland Department of Transportation Secretary Paul J. Weidefeld told reporters that construction workers were “inspecting potholes on the bridge” at the time of the collision. He said their presence “had nothing to do with the structure of the bridge.”

Moore added that the “bridge was fully up to code” at the time of the crash.

Baltimore County Fire Chief James Wallace said there are six people unaccounted for, who they believe to be construction crew. Sonar has located vehicles in the water, but authorities don’t believe people are in those vehicles. It was unclear if those vehicles belonged to the construction crew or travelers across the bridge.

Weidefeld said more than 30,000 people a day use the I-695 connector on the southeastern side of Baltimore. Speaking less than 10 hours after the collapse, Moore had no timeline for when shipping will be resumed, or estimated costs associated with the loss of the bridge.

During an earlier press conference, Wallace confirmed one person had been transported to the hospital in serious condition, and one person refused medical attention.

President Joe Biden said he and his administration have been briefed and are offering assistance.

“This morning, I convened senior members of my team for a briefing on the collapse of Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge,” the president’s team posted on his social media channels. “I’ve directed my administration to ensure every federal resource is available to assist search and rescue efforts and response to this terrible incident.”

Moore and Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott each declared a state of emergency. U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has offered federal assistance while neighboring Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin has also offered to help.