The East Rockaway Gull

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The East Rockaway Gull

The East Rockaway Gull


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The Sudden Collapse of Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge


In the pitch black of a regular Tuesday night in Baltimore, construction workers patching up cracks on the Francis Scott Key bridge had no idea what a turn their night would take. While working their jobs well after midnight, the bridge beneath their feet suddenly collapsed after being slammed into by a massive cargo ship. This sent pieces of the bridge as well as the 8 construction workers who were located on its surface plummeting into the freezing cold Patapsco River, half of which have yet to be seen again since. 

Prior to its unexpected collapse, the Francis Scott Key Bridge had stood 185 feet high in Baltimore for decades, allowing ships both small and large to pass under it easily every day. These ships often contained a lot of cargo and were bound for different ports across the world, so a trade ship passing under the bridge was hardly anything out of the ordinary. However, when the lights aboard a gigantic cargo ship abruptly went dark during their trip along the river, what was just another ship passing under the bridge became something much worse. 

Without any electricity, the ship became impossible to maneuver in the darkness, but still continued moving forward due to its momentum. At its fast and uncontrolled pace, the ship ended up colliding with a support pier that was helping to hold up a lot of the bridge’s weight. This pivotal piece of the bridge went down upon impact and with it went the entire structure. 

Thankfully, a distress call from those aboard the ship reached 2 police officers who were located on either end of the bridge before it collapsed. It was this call that led them to hold back traffic, so there weren’t any cars driving along the bridge when it fell down. This could have been a significantly worse accident with many more injuries and fatalities if these stopped cars had been on the bridge at the time of the crash. Despite this, the call didn’t come quite soon enough to save everyone from a long fall into the river. Just as the officers were relaying the message about the out of control ship to the construction workers on the bridge, within the minute of receiving the distress call, the whole thing came down suddenly with 8 construction workers still on it.

Of these workers, only 4 have been found so far in over a week since the accident occurred. Two of these workers survived with injuries, while the other two were found dead. As for the other half of this construction team, nobody can say for certain, but after such a fall and so much time missing, they are presumed to be deceased as well.

The unanticipated collapse of this bridge also creates a big economic disruption as the vital Port of Baltimore is now inaccessible. Those working on cleaning up the area predict that the project will likely take a long time, which means a whole new route will have to be created in order to get cargo intended for the port to a location where it can be delivered. Additionally, this bridge will likely cost hundreds of millions of dollars and years of time to rebuild, leaving Baltimore residents with a whole world of difficulties when it comes to their daily commutes. The Francis Scott Key bridge has truly left chaos for the city and its residents in its rubble.

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About the Contributor
Shannon Mahoney, Student Writer
Meet Shannon. She is a sophomore at ERHS this year and excited for her first year writing for The Gull. She enjoys writing about many different topics. This includes both news and more opinionated articles on entertainment or the arts. She is also a dancer and participates in a few other clubs at East Rockaway. In her free time she enjoys watching TV and movies, as well as reading books.

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