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NTSB Releases Preliminary Report On Cargo Vessel That Crashed Into Francis Scott Key Bridge

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The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released a preliminary report on its findings from the collapse of Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge.

According to the report, the 947-foot-long cargo vessel that crashed into the bridge experienced an electrical blackout approximately 10 hours before leaving the Port of Baltimore.

The Dali had another electrical blackout shortly before it crashed into the bridge, causing it to collapse and killing six construction workers.

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From the Associated Press:

The power outage occurred after a crewmember mistakenly closed an exhaust damper, causing the ship’s engine to stall, investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board said in their preliminary report. Shortly after leaving Baltimore early on March 26, the ship crashed into one of the bridge’s supporting columns because another power outage caused it to lose steering and propulsion at the exact worst moment.

The report provides new details about how the ship’s crew addressed the power issues it experienced while still docked in Baltimore. A full investigation could take a year or more, according to the safety board.

Testing of the ship’s fuel did not reveal any concerns related to its quality, according to the report.

The Dali was headed from Baltimore to Sri Lanka, laden with shipping containers and enough supplies for a monthlong voyage.

After the initial blackout caused by the closed exhaust damper, investigators say a backup generator automatically came on. It continued to run for a short period — until insufficient fuel pressure caused it to kick off again, resulting in a second blackout. That’s when crewmembers made changes to the ship’s electrical configuration, switching from one transformer and breaker system it had been using for several months to another that was in use upon its departure, according to the report.

Per ABC News:

The first power loss shut down the main engine, according to the NTSB. The crew was able to restore power, but then the ship lost power again moments later when it was approaching the bridge, according to the NTSB.

The crew was able to regain power again but unable to regain propulsion, the report said.

“The NTSB is still investigating the electrical configuration following the first in-port blackout and potential impacts on the events during the accident voyage,” the report said.

There were no reported blackout incidents recorded when the Dali was docked at ports in Newark and Norfolk during its recent U.S. voyage, according to the NTSB.

Video of the incident showed the lights on the Dali going off and smoking coming from the ship before it crashed.

Read the full 24-page NTSB preliminary report HERE.

On Monday, crews utilized a controlled demolition to break down the largest remaining portion of the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

[WATCH] Francis Scott Key Bridge Wreckage Destroyed In Controlled Demolition

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