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News / Nation & World

Blast brings down Key Bridge span in Baltimore

Demolition vital step in freeing grounded container ship Dali

By LEA SKENE, Associated Press
Published: May 13, 2024, 5:03pm

BALTIMORE — Crews set off a network of linked explosives Monday to break down the largest remaining span of the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, and with a boom, the steel section crumpled into the water in seconds.

The explosives flashed orange and let off plumes of black smoke upon detonation. The longest trusses toppled away from the grounded Dali container ship and slid off its bow, sending a wall of water splashing back toward the ship.

It marked a major step in freeing the ship, which has been stuck amid the wreckage since it lost power and crashed into one of the bridge’s support columns shortly after leaving Baltimore on March 26. The demolished span came crashing down on the ship’s bow and remained resting on its deck for the past six weeks.

The collapse killed six construction workers and halted most maritime traffic through Baltimore’s busy port. The controlled demolition will allow the Dali to be refloated and restore traffic through the port as the cleanup enters its final stages.

Once the ship is removed, maritime traffic can begin returning to normal, which will provide relief for thousands of longshoremen, truckers and small-business owners who have seen their jobs impacted by the closure.

Officials previously said the Dali’s 21-member crew would shelter in place aboard the ship while the explosives were detonated.