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Warning from Ship Crew Before Baltimore Bridge Collapse Allowed Officials to Stop Traffic: 'They Saved Lives'

Warning from Ship Crew Before Baltimore Bridge Collapse Allowed Officials to Stop Traffic: 'They Saved Lives'

The vessel lost power shortly before it crashed into the Baltimore bridge, prompting crew members to issue a "mayday" call, according to Maryland Gov. Wes Moore

  • A "mayday" call issued by crew members on the ship that crashed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore on Tuesday may have helped save lives, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore said at a press conference hours after the bridge collapsed

  • The advance warning allowed officials to "stop the flow of traffic so that more cars were not on the bridge," according to the governor

  • President Joe Biden also said the warning delivered by personnel onboard the ship "undoubtedly saved lives"

A warning issued by crew members on the cargo ship that hit the Francis Scott Key Bridge on Tuesday morning helped save lives, according to officials.

The vessel lost power shortly before it crashed into the Baltimore bridge, prompting crew members to issue a “mayday” call, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore said at a press conference Tuesday.

A short time later, at about 1:30 a.m. local time, the collision occurred and the 1.6-mile bridge fell into the Patapsco River.

The advance warning allowed officials to “stop the flow of traffic so that more cars were not on the bridge” at the time of the crash and collapse, Moore said.

Related: Francis Scott Key Bridge Collapse in Maryland: Live Updates About the Incident in Baltimore

“Many of the vehicles were stopped before they got on the bridge, which saved lives,” the governor told reporters Tuesday morning. He then went on to praise all of the individuals who delivered the warning and stopped traffic.

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“These people are heroes,” Moore said. “They saved lives.”

<p>Barbara Haddock Taylor/The Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service via Getty</p> Governor Wes Moore speaks at a news conference at the Maryland Department of Transportation campus near the bridge. Lt. Governor Aruna Miller is on left; Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski is behind them, as well as Senate President Bill Ferguson.

Barbara Haddock Taylor/The Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service via Getty

Governor Wes Moore speaks at a news conference at the Maryland Department of Transportation campus near the bridge. Lt. Governor Aruna Miller is on left; Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski is behind them, as well as Senate President Bill Ferguson.

At a subsequent press conference at the White House, President Joe Biden also credited personnel onboard the ship for warning the Maryland Department of Transportation "that they lost control of their vessel."

“As a result, local authorities were able to close the bridge to traffic before it was struck, which undoubtedly saved lives," he added.

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The crash involving the cargo ship appears to have been an accident, according to the governor. He said the vessel was operating at "a very, very rapid speed" at the time of the crash.

Six construction workers who were on the bridge when it collapsed remain missing, authorities said in an update on Tuesday. Two other individuals were rescued, one of whom was hospitalized in a "very serious condition."

<p>Jerry Jackson/The Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service via Getty</p> Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge after it collapsed early Tuesday morning

Jerry Jackson/The Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service via Getty

Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge after it collapsed early Tuesday morning

Related: Dramatic Photos from the Baltimore Bridge Collapse and Desperate Rescue Efforts

Both Moore and Maryland senator Chris Van Hollen offered thoughts and prayers to those impacted by the tragedy.

“All of our hearts are broken,” Moore said at Tuesday’s press conference. “We feel your loss. We’re thinking of you, and we will always be thinking of you.”

Ship traffic has been suspended in the Port of Baltimore until further notice, Biden said.

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