DC mayor called out for two word response to Baltimore bridge collapse

Muriel Bowser reacted in a now deleted post on X/Twitter

Martha McHardy
Wednesday 27 March 2024 17:47 GMT
Moment the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapses after ship collision

Washington DC’s mayor is being called out after she offered a two-word response to the Baltimore bridge collapse.

“Oh no,” Muriel Bowser wrote in a now deleted post on X just hours after the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Ms Bowser’s bizarre response drew the ire of social media users, who slammed her for her choice of words.

Largest bridge in the Baltimore metro area is gone... and this lady acts like she just stubbed her toe,” one person wrote.

“Willy Wonka when kids disappear in his factory,” another person quipped.

Another X user said they thought Ms Bowser’s personal X account, which the tweet was published from, was a “parody account.”

“This is the funniest reaction a mayor has ever given to a national tragedy,” a fourth person said.

Ms Bowser later offered her condolences to the victims of the Baltimore bridge collapse in a statement.

Muriel Bowser at a news conference this month (AP)

“Our prayers are with our neighbors in Baltimore and all those impacted by the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge,” she said. “This morning, I reached out to Mayor Scott, and we stand ready to support Baltimore in these difficult days ahead.”

The tragic incident unfolded just before 1.30am local time on Tuesday when the Singapore-flagged Dali ship slammed into one of the bridge’s pillars.

Multiple cars were crossing over the bridge at the time, including one the size of a tractor-trailer.

Authorities said a group of at least eight construction workers were also on the bridge at the time of the collapse, who were “doing some concrete deck repair”. Six of them remain unaccounted for.

Rescue efforts were launched on Tuesday following the incident, but were called off the same evening after Coast Guard Rear Admiral Shannon Gilreath said there was no hope of finding the missing workers alive due to the frigid water and the length of time since the accident.

The search and rescue operation transitioned into a recovery mission on Wednesday morning, Rear Admiral Gilreath added.

The 1,000ft container ship Dali was an hour into its voyage to Sri Lanka when it struck the bridge (via Reuters)

Two of the six people missing were identified by family members on Wednesday, with one of the victims identified as 37-year-old Honduras native, Maynor Yassir Suazo Sandoval. Miguel Luna, a 49-year-old father of three from El Salvador who has called Maryland home for 19 years, is also among the six people missing. Both were part of the construction crew, according to their families.

The other victims have not been named, but Guatemala’s foreign ministry confirmed that two Guatemalan nationals are among those unaccounted for after the collapse of the bridge – a 26-year-old from San Luis and a 35-year-old from Camotan. The ministry did not name the men.

Multiple Mexican nationals are also missing, a Mexican Embassy official said, although it is not clear how many.

On Tuesday, Baltimore fire chief James Wallace said two people had been rescued from the water, including one person who was uninjured, and a second person, believed to be part of the work crew, who is in a serious condition in hospital.

One of the victims, Miguel Luna, was on the bridge when the ship hit (Supplied)
Maynor Suazo Sandoval was one of the workers killed in the collapse (Supplied)

Meanwhile, the Synergy Group, the company that manages the Dali, confirmed all 22 crew members who were on board the Dali were accounted for and that there was only one minor injury.

Although the exact cause of the crash has not yet been determined, an unclassified intelligence report, obtained by ABC, revealed the Dali container ship “lost propulsion” as it was leaving port.

“The vessel notified MD Department of Transportation (MDOT) that they had lost control of the vessel and a collision with the bridge was possible,” ABC quoted the report by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency as saying. “The vessel struck the bridge causing a complete collapse.”

The FBI were on the scene of the crash on Tuesday morning, however, officials later confirmed that there was no indication that terrorism was involved in the incident and that the crash was not intentional.

In an interview with CNN on Wednesday, Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg vowed that there would be consequences for any party responsible for the incident.

“To be clear: if any private party is responsible and accountable for this, then they will be held accountable,” he said.

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