Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore

The Key Bridge in Baltimore has essentially totally collapsed after being hit by a container ship.

The current estimate is that 20 construction workers and 3-4 civilian vehicles were on the bridge when it collapsed. RIP to those who didn’t make it. Here’s a photo of the aftermath.

Pretty insane stuff. Very curious how on Earth this happened.


Holy shit. I’ve been over that bridge several times. My mom grew up in the area of Baltimore that’s just northwest of there.

That footage is insane


The ship was reportedly a Singaporean-flagged container ship named Dali. I would assume this is an accident, although a deliberate attack can’t be ruled out. People have noticed that lights are going on and off on the bridge of the ship as it approaches the bridge, so maybe it was having technical issues.

I’ve read that the ship was also reported to be on fire when it hit the bridge.

Read that the ship had lost control of steering but who knows. What a horror & catastrophe.

Not on fire, but in this video you can see it billow black smoke out of its funnel and then lose a bunch of the lighting, so it definitely looks like something was amiss.

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Couldn’t the ship have had time to give a warning that it was about to collide if there was a malfunction and it had been drifting, as it appears?

What’s the proximity of this bridge to D.C.?

The bridge is part of interstate 695 which is a beltway around Baltimore. I imagine the traffic situation there is going to be extremely fucked.

The bridge also took 5 years to build and cost $110 million in 1977 dollars.

Whether the crew of the ship could have done anything is speculation at this point.

This is terrible but I can’t imagine if it happened a few hours later. There are probably a few hundred cars packed onto that bridge at rush hour.


Less than an hour driving but not close enough to have any significance

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This is going to be another jet fuel steel beams situation, isn’t it.


edit: The big winner in this terrorist attack? Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

All the lights seem to go off on the ship @0.33

Yeah longer videos show that they go off and on more than once.

Bit of analysis of ship tracking data here by a sailor:

By “bare steerageway” is meant how fast a ship has to be travelling before you can steer it from the helm. If it’s below that speed there just isn’t enough water pressure on the rudder to turn the ship.

It’s hard to have good intuitions about this because these things are so unfathomably heavy. Like you would think that at 4 mph or less, how can it do so much damage, but it could well weigh in excess of 200,000 tons.

The only thing we know for certain at this point is that over the next 24 hours hundreds of experts on bridges & container ships will come out of the woodwork and make their presence known on Twitter.


I’m just trying to hold the fort until Matt Yglesias can weigh in.

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On charter by Maersk, built by Hyundai, Greek ownership. 2 pilots were on board.

Looks like there weren’t any vehicles passing the bridge when it collapsed; all the lights you see on the bridge were stationary at that time.

I guess they won’t be dredging the canal next fiscal period.

Did we learn nothing from Speed 2: Cruise Control?

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Not that I think it’s some conspiracy, but not being a structural engineer, one of my first thoughts here was I didn’t think a slow-moving ship hitting a bridge stanchion would completely bring it down.