NTSB investigating hazmat spill in Baltimore Key Bridge collapse; Probe could last 2 years

The cargo ship that caused the Baltimore bridge collapse was carrying hazardous materials, National Transportation Safety Board Chair Jennifer Homendy announced Wednesday.

Homendy said there are 56 containers aboard containing hazardous materials, including corrosives, flammables and lithium ion batteries. She said some containers were breached and there was a sheen in the water that will be dealt with by authorities. 

She said the voyage data recorder had been recovered by the Coast Guard and the agency plans to build a timeline of what led to the crash, which federal and state officials have said appeared to be an accident.


Baltimore bridge collapse: 2 victims recovered, 4 others still missing

Maryland officials say the bodies of two victims have been recovered following the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge Tuesday. Four others known to have fallen into the river are still missing.

Homendy added that the investigation could take 12 to 24 months but that the NTSB would not hesitate to issue urgent safety recommendations during that time. She said a preliminary report should be released in two to four weeks.

"It’s a massive undertaking for an investigation," Homendy said. "It’s a very tragic event."

Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board boarded the ship to recover information from its electronics and paperwork and to do interviews with the captain and other crew members, NTSB Homendy said during a Wednesday evening news conference. 

Twenty-three people, including two pilots, were on the ship when it crashed, she said.

The ship’s crew issued a mayday call early Tuesday, saying they had lost power and steering just minutes before striking one of the bridge’s columns.

At least eight people initially went into the water, and two of them were rescued Tuesday, officials said. Two others were recovered Wednesday inside a red pickup truck submerged in the Patapsco River. 

Using VDR data, NTSB has released a timeline of the events that occurred early Tuesday morning. 

Check it out below: 

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