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“Baltimore Bridge Collision: Cargo Ship Power Loss Presumes Six Dead”

The U.S. Coast Guard has made the difficult decision to halt its search and rescue operations for the six individuals still unaccounted for following the tragic collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore. Rear Adm. Shannon Gilreath conveyed this somber announcement to reporters during a Tuesday evening press briefing, citing the duration of the search, exhaustive efforts expended, and the challenging conditions including frigid water temperatures, leading them to conclude that chances of finding survivors are slim.

The catastrophic incident unfolded after a colossal container ship experienced a power failure in the early hours of Tuesday, resulting in a collision with the bridge. This collision propelled people and vehicles into the icy waters of the Patapsco River below.

According to Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul J. Wiedefeld, the missing individuals are believed to be members of a construction crew tasked with repairing potholes on the bridge. Despite the suspension of active search operations, Rear Adm. Gilreath assured that the Coast Guard and their partners will remain engaged, transitioning into a different phase of response efforts.

Earlier in the day, two individuals were rescued from the Patapsco River, one of whom sustained severe injuries and was rushed to a nearby trauma center. However, Baltimore City Council Member Phylicia Porter initially reported the recovery of a body from the river, later retracting the statement. Col. Roland L. Butler Jr., secretary of Maryland State Police, confirmed during the evening press conference that no bodies had been retrieved from the water.

Moving forward, the focus will shift towards locating the missing individuals to provide closure to their grieving families, as emphasized by Col. Butler.

Governor Wes Moore acknowledged the timely warning issued by the ship’s crew prior to the collision, commending their actions for potentially preventing further casualties. However, the Governor described the collapse as a shocking and heartbreaking event, underscoring its profound impact on Marylanders who have relied on the bridge for nearly five decades.

The investigation into the incident involves multiple agencies, including the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Coast Guard. NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy confirmed that a comprehensive inquiry, involving experts in various fields, will be conducted to ascertain the circumstances leading to the tragedy.

As the nation grapples with the aftermath of this disaster, President Joe Biden has pledged federal support for the reconstruction of the bridge, declaring it a national priority. Additionally, Senator Ben Cardin and Maryland’s congressional delegation have mobilized efforts to secure resources for the recovery process.

The scale of the catastrophe has underscored the challenges faced by rescue teams, contending with treacherous conditions and complex search operations. Despite these hurdles, authorities remain committed to the arduous task of bringing closure to affected families and restoring the vital transportation artery that the Francis Scott Key Bridge represents.

The iconic bridge, named after Francis Scott Key, who penned “The Star-Spangled Banner,” serves as a poignant reminder of the nation’s resilience in the face of adversity, echoing the spirit of unity and perseverance embodied in the anthem’s enduring lyrics.

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