National News

Francis Scott Key Bridge wreckage demolished in controlled explosion after delays

todayMay 13, 2024


Christopher Rosario/US Army Corps of Engineers

(BALTIMORE) — Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge wreckage was demolished in a controlled explosion on Monday evening after being delayed due to lightning near the site on Sunday.

The removal process took place Monday at 5:00 p.m., officials said.

Engineers set off controlled explosives in the steel remains of the Key Bridge to help remove the debris from the freighter that crashed in March.

Ongoing storms in the Baltimore and Washington D.C. region had delayed the demolition since Friday.

The explosives split a large section of truss at specific locations to allow “salvors to use cranes and barges already on scene to remove these sections of the bridge and ultimately remove the MV Dali from the channel,” Unified Command, the group in charge of the recovery and salvage operations, said in a statement.

“By using precision cuts, we reduce risks to our personnel and can safely and efficiently continue clearing the channel for the Port of Baltimore,” Capt. David O’Connell, the Key Bridge Response federal on-scene coordinator, said in a statement.

Officials said hearing protection would not be required outside of a 2,000-yard radius of the site.

“Sound levels outside of the noise radius will be no louder than a standard fireworks show and will last two to five seconds,” Unified Command said.

A cellphone alert went out to residents warning them about the explosion, Unified Command said.

The freighter has been stuck in the location ever since it slammed into the bridge during the early morning hours on March 26 after the vessel experienced a malfunction.

Body camera footage of the incident, which was released Friday by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources in response to a public records request by ABC News, shows officers getting an up-close look at the location where the bridge once stood.

“There is no bridge,” an officer can be heard saying. “The whole center span is gone completely. It’s in the water.”

Another officer reported encountering a “large debris field” with containers on the side of the river closest to Baltimore. In one video, he can be heard shouting toward the freighter to ask if anyone was hurt. Someone aboard the ship responded that their finger was cut.

The bridge suffered a near-total collapse and caused massive logistical delays in the Port of Baltimore. Six construction workers who were on the bridge at the time were killed in the incident.

The incident is still under investigation and the recovery efforts are ongoing.

ABC News’ Beatrice Peterson, Jared Kofsky and Josh Margolin contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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