#World News

Lost power, mayday call and crash before Baltimore bridge collapse

By Bernd Debusmann Jr and Tom Bateman

By the time the crew of the Dali, a massive 948ft (289m) container ship, realised what was happening, it was already far too late.

The vessel – at the very start of a 27-day journey from the port of Baltimore to Sri Lanka – completely lost power after leaving the port and was hurtling towards the city’s iconic Francis Scott Key Bridge.

It was the middle of the night and the crew onboard were pitched into further darkness when the ship’s lights suddenly went out.

The vessel was dead: there were no electronics and – crucially – no engine power. They were adrift but powerless to stop what was happening.

Multiple alarms rang out as the crew ran unsuccessful tests in a desperate attempt to fix the issue and regain power.

A local pilot onboard the vessel frantically gave orders, telling the crew to steer the rudder hard to port and drop anchor to keep it from drifting starboard.

While an emergency generator is believed to have kicked in, the ship never regained the use of its engines.

The pilots were left with no choice. Shortly before 01:30 (05:30 GMT), they issued a mayday call warning authorities that a collision was imminent.

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