Baltimore Causeway Bridge Collapses After Ship Collision: Live Updates

8:52 pm ET, March 26, 2024

A pilot union official says the ship went into total blackout before crashing into the bridge

From CNN's Yahya Abou-Ghazala

An aerial view of the Daly freighter and collapsed bridge seen on Tuesday, March 26.

Maryland National Guard/Handbook/Reuters

The pilot of the ship that struck the Baltimore bridge on Tuesday did “everything he could” to slow down the ship and keep it from heading toward the bridge, said Clay Diamond, executive director and general counsel of the American Pilots Association.

Diamond was in close contact with the Maryland Airmen's Association about what happened aboard the Daly freighter in the moments before the crash.

“Minutes before the bridge, the ship had a total blackout, meaning the ship lost engine power and electrical power, a total blackout,” Diamond told CNN.

At that point, according to Diamond, the pilot did “everything he could” to slow the ship down and keep it from going right toward the bridge.

The pilot quickly gave orders, calling for hard rudder to port — as far left as possible — and dropping anchor.

Additionally, Diamond said it was the pilot who contacted the pilot dispatch office to stop traffic to the bridge.

“They were all the right steps but it happened so quickly and in so little time … none of those maneuvers were enough,” Diamond said.

Diamond could see the lights on the boat being turned back on – as the emergency generator was working after the initial blackout – but the ship's engines were not restarting.

Marine pilots, who must be licensed, board a ship temporarily and help navigate the ship as it navigates local waters. Pilot training programs are extensive and rigorous, requiring experience navigating vessels on the water, classroom simulations and working under the supervision of licensed pilots, according to Diamond.

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