FBI Launches Key Bridge Investigation

EDGEMERE, MARYLAND - MARCH 26: The cargo ship Dali is shown after running into and collapsing the Francis Scott Key Bridge on March 26, 2024 in Baltimore, Maryland. | Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images

The FBI has initiated a criminal investigation into the ship collision that led to the collapse of Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge last month, killing six men.

The investigation is focusing on the circumstances leading up to the ship’s initial impact with the bridge and whether all federal laws were followed throughout the aftermath, according to The Washington Post. FBI agents boarded the vessel early Monday morning as part of its investigation.

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, the Dali, a container ship carrying cargo headed for Sri Lanka, struck one of the Francis Scott Key Bridge’s supporting columns on March 26. The collision caused the main span of the bridge to collapse into the Patapsco River, killing six members of a road repair crew who were on the bridge at the time.

Divers have since retrieved four of the six bodies from the river. Two other workers on the bridge managed to survive the collapse.

In addition to the FBI investigation, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is conducting its own inquiry into the incident. The chair of the board, Jennifer Homendy, said last week that investigators were focusing on the ship’s electrical power system. The ship experienced power issues moments before the crash, as is evident in the various viral videos that show its lights flickering on and off during the incident, the Associated Press reported.

Homendy said that while the information retrieved from the vessel’s voyage data recorder was limited, the details from the engine room will be instrumental in aiding NTSB’s investigation.

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott announced on Monday that the City of Baltimore was “taking legal steps to proactively and aggressively address the catastrophic impact the Key Bridge collapse has had on the City of Baltimore and its residents, including the families of the victims, business owners, and longshoremen and other Port workers.”

The city has engaged two law firms, DiCello Levitt and Philadelphia-based Saltz Mongeluzzi Bendesky, to “launch legal action to hold the wrongdoers responsible and to mitigate the immediate and long-term harm caused to Baltimore City residents,” the announcement said.

“Through this engagement, the City of Baltimore will take decisive action to hold responsible all entities accountable for the Key Bridge tragedy, including the owner, charterer, manager/operator, and the manufacturer of the M/V Dali, as well as any other potentially liable third parties,” the announcement continued. “This unthinkable tragedy has taken Marylanders from their loved ones and risked the livelihoods of thousands of Baltimoreans who rely on the Port of Baltimore.”

Over the weekend, a similar potential tragedy was averted after more than two dozen barges broke loose from their moorings on the bank of the Ohio River in Pittsburgh, striking the Sewickley Bridge and damaging a marina. The bridge will be closed until a safety inspection is completed.

All but one of the barges have been retrieved and secured. According to a Coast Guard official, AP reported, one barge is still unaccounted for.

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