FBI Opens Investigation Into Baltimore Bridge Collapse

NTD Newsroom
By NTD Newsroom
April 15, 2024US News
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The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has opened an investigation into the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore last month.

The bridge collapsed after a support tower was struck by the container ship Dali, causing the bridge to fall into the Patapsco River on March 26.

“The FBI is present aboard the cargo ship Dali conducting court-authorized law enforcement activity,” a spokesperson for the FBI’s Baltimore Field Office told The Epoch Times in an email. “There is no other public information available and we will have no further comment.”

The FBI’s statement and other media reports strongly indicate the agency has begun investigating the incident as being criminal in nature. The FBI is reportedly looking into whether or not the crew left the port while aware of major issues with the vessel, according to The Washington Post.

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott also announced Monday that the city is now “taking legal steps” to “proactively and aggressively” address the “catastrophic” impact the bridge collapse has had on the city, its residents, families of victims, business owners, longshoremen and other Port of Baltimore workers.

This includes partnering with legal firms to hold entities accountable such as the owner, charterer, manager/operator, and the manufacturer of the M/V Dali, as well as “any other potentially liable third parties.”

Investigations

While the FBI is now conducting an investigation into the incident, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) also has an open investigation into the incident.

NTSB information thus far shows that the nearly 1,000-foot-long Singaporian flagged vessel lost power before striking the bridge, leading to the collapse and damage to the vessel.

Portions of the bridge that fell onto the vessel and in the river are still being removed from the river, as crews work to reopen the major shipping channel.

The NTSB reports that no pollution has been reported currently, although several of the containers on the ship were carrying hazardous materials. The agency thus far estimates the damage to the bridge and vessel to “exceed $500,000.”

The agency classified the accident as a “major marine casualty” with the NTSB leading the investigation and the Office of Marie Safety investigating and “establishing the probable cause.”

NTSB Chair Addresses Senate

NTSB chair Jennifer Homendy said at a Senate hearing last week that the agency had interviewed key personnel from the Dali, including pilots and the second officer, who was the man on watch at the time of the crash.

Ms. Homendy told senators that she believed the lights going out on the vessel prior to the collision, as shown in video of the accident, was related to whatever caused the power failure.

She said investigators brought in Hyundai, the manufacturer of equipment in the engine room, to help determine the cause of the electrical issues by downloading data from the electrical power system and looking at the circuit breakers.

“A voyage data recorder provides very basic information, not like a flight data recorder, so there isn’t enough information on that to understand,” she said. “It’s really [looking at] what was going on in the engine room, [because] it’s really a snapshot of the major systems on a vessel. So that information in the engine room will help us tremendously.”

She briefly thanked the FBI and U.S. Coast Guard for their help on scene, but did not mention a separate investigation by the FBI at that time.

The preliminary report of the incident is expected the first week of May, she added in remarks at a hearing to confirm her renomination to the position.

From The Epoch Times

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