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FBI launches criminal probe into Baltimore bridge collapse – media

A large container ship collided with the Francis Scott Key Bridge last month, leaving six people dead and the structure completely destroyed

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has launched a criminal probe into the deadly collapse of a large bridge in Baltimore, multiple US media outlets reported on Monday, citing sources close to the investigation.

The Francis Scott Key Bridge was destroyed on March 26, when the Singapore-flagged container ship ‘Dali’ ran into one of its supports. The collision resulted in a catastrophic structural failure of the bridge, which collapsed along most of its span, largely blocking maritime traffic to and from the port of Baltimore. Six members of a roadwork crew who were doing maintenance on the bridge at the moment of the collision were killed.

FBI agents are now working to determine whether federal laws were followed amid the disaster, as well as seeking to establish all the circumstances that led to it, AP reported, citing an unnamed person familiar with the matter. 

The US Coast Guard is participating in the investigation as well, CNN reported, citing an anonymous official, who said the probe also seeks to determine whether the ship’s crew failed to properly report an earlier technical issue with the vessel that delayed its departure shortly before the collision. While still at port, the container ship reportedly experienced issues with its electrical supply.

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The vessel’s manager, Singapore-based Synergy Marine Group, said it has been fully cooperating with the US authorities in the probe. 

“Due to the magnitude of the incident, there are various government agencies conducting investigations, in which we are fully participating,” Synergy Marine spokesperson Darrell Wilson said in a statement on Monday without explicitly naming any agencies involved. “Out of respect for these investigations and any future legal proceedings, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time,” he added.

Meanwhile, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott on Monday announced a partnership with two law firms to launch legal action over the collapse, vowing to “hold the wrongdoers responsible” and receive compensation for the damage done to the people of the city and redress the economic fallout of the accident.

 

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