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Pics: Navy releases underwater pics of Baltimore bridge wreckage

Crane barges surround the container ship Dali and the wreckage of the Francis Scott Key Bridge two weeks after the catastrophic collapse. (Jerry Jackson/The Baltimore Sun/TNS)
June 07, 2024

Resurfaced images released by the U.S. Navy show the extent of the damage caused to the Francis Scott Key Bridge following a collision that occurred on March 26, when the Dali, a 984-foot container ship, struck a support tower.

The accident caused a bridge collapse that sent eight construction workers into the water. Two survived; however, six were killed in the tragic accident.

The 3D images of the debris, supplied by the Navy’s Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Supervisor of Salvage and Diving, illustrate the challenge divers faced during cleanup efforts. Divers imaged the wreckage using the underwater sonar tool CODA Octopus.

The wreckage of the bridge sits 50 feet below the water at the bottom of the Patapsco River in Baltimore, mired in four to five feet of mud and loose riverbed bottom.

According to a press release by DVIDS, divers are working with severely limited visibility, only able to see a foot or two in front of them. Lighting the wreckage to improve visibility is not an option, as the cloudy water reflects light and further reduces visibility.

Divers rely on verbal instructions provided by crews on boats above the water and sonar to navigate the debris.

READ MORE: Video: Heroic construction workers saved lives before major bridge collapse

The cause of the tragic collision is still under investigation. Operators of the Dali experienced multiple losses of power, impacting steering just prior to the accident. Several mayday calls and calls for tugboat assistance ensured the bridge was closed to traffic, but construction crews were not able to be evacuated prior to impact.

The Dali dropped anchor in an attempt to slow the ship; however, it is estimated that the Dali was traveling at approximately 8 knots when impact occurred.

Grace Ocean Private Limited, owner of the Dali, and Synergy Marine Group, manager of the ship, filed a Petition for Exoneration of Limited Liability in Northern Maryland Court on April 1, denying responsibility for the wreck and asking the Federal Court to limit damages.