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Isa Soares Tonight

Cargo Ship Collapses Baltimore Bridge; U.S. Supreme Court Skeptical Of Limiting Access To Abortion Pill; FBI Raids Sean "Diddy" Combs' Homes; Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. to Announce A V.P. Candidate; Nicole Shanahan To Be Picked As RFK Jr.'s Running Mate; Catastrophic Collapse Of The Baltimore Bridge; Six People Unaccounted For After Baltimore Bridge Collapse; NTSB Gives Update On Baltimore Bridge Collapse. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired March 26, 2024 - 14:00:00   ET



RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: A good day to you, I'm Richard Quest in tonight for Isa Soares. A tragedy in Baltimore, a cargo ship hit a major

bridge causing it to collapse. Now, we're learning, the ship's crew had issued a May Day only before the impact. Details in a moment.

Also, the majority of the U.S. Supreme Court appeared to be skeptical of a nationwide abortion pill ban. It was a high case stakes today. And two

mansions that belong to Sean "Diddy" Combs homes were raided by federal agents.

It's all related to an ongoing sex trafficking investigation, we'll have the details from Los Angeles. Baltimore's mayor is calling it an

unthinkable tragedy because right now rescue workers are desperately searching for six people still unaccounted for, more than 12 hours after

the collapse of a major bridge, after that bridge was struck by a cargo ship.

Now, officials confirm there were construction workers on the bridge when the crash occurred, it sent people and vehicles into the frigid waters

below, two people were rescued and you can see the lights of the ship go out just before the impact.

If you look closely, that's tied to the bottom of that, and there you see the lights go out and the ship, of course, then seconds later hits the

bridge. Maryland's governor says the ship's crew had notified port officials it had lost power in the seconds prior to the ship.

If we show that again, you'll make it -- it will become a little clear, again, how that actually happened. The ship loses power, then 20 or 30

seconds later, it hits the bridge, the bridge then collapses. A short time ago, the President Biden spoke.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to spend all the federal resources they need as we respond to this emergency. I mean, all

the federal resources. And we're going to rebuild that port together. Everything so far indicates that this was a terrible accident.

At this time, we have no other indication. No other reason to believe it is any intentional act here.


QUEST: CNN's Kristin Fisher joins me now from Maryland. So, we know a lot more now, don't we? In the sense that this -- it does look like a dreadful

accident and the pictures I was showing a second or two ago of the ship losing power. Well, you take the story from there.

KRISTIN FISHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, we now know Richard that the ship's crew issued a May Day shortly before hitting the Key Bridge, which you can

see just behind me, and this massive gaping hole in the middle where the bridge came down.

So, the ship issued this May Day call, the crew on the ship issued this May Day call, and it reached officials on land, on the bridge, and they were

able to actually stop traffic to keep more cars from entering the bridge. The governor, President Biden, have all said that, that action likely saved

countless lives.

But so, you know, the big question now though, is what happened to that construction crew? Did they not get that May Day call where officials not

able to reach them in time? Still so many questions. Two members of that construction crew have been rescued, but they are still searching for six

more, Richard.

And so, that is all the activity that you see here right now, all the energy, all the effort is centered around focusing on in finding those six

construction crew members who they believe are in the water, and you know, you just think about the difficulties facing these Coast Guards and

recovery crews right now.

Because not only is this water really cold, but they're also having to deal with avoiding all of the metal and debris and steel from the bridge itself,

that is in the water below as they tried to find these six missing people. So, yes, Richard, that May Day call likely saved --

QUEST: Right --

FISHER: Many lives, but, you know, it's just right now a battle with time, right?


I mean, these people have been in the water now for over 12 hours, so families and the recovery crews, the search efforts just really getting

quite dire right now in terms of timing and the amount of time these people --

QUEST: All right --

FISHER: In the water now.

QUEST: So, as we look at -- without looking at live pictures, the -- I mean, it looks absolutely horrific. But in terms of the city of Baltimore,

and the ports of Baltimore, obviously, the rescue or recovery of those people is paramount. But does this -- does this essentially mean that all

access to the polls is now impossible?

FISHER: Correct. For now, all traffic, all boats, all shipping -- all ships in and out of Baltimore harbor all traffic halted, and we don't know how

long it's going to be that way for. It could be days or potentially even weeks. I mean, nobody knows for sure Richard, and you know, this is one of

the busiest ports in the United States.

This is going to have a significant economic impact on the city of Baltimore. But then you also have to think about the transportation --

QUEST: Yes --

FISHER: Ramifications coming from this. This was a massive Interstate i- 695, a massive loop that circled around the city of Baltimore. It was one of the key roads that allowed hazardous materials, trucks carrying

hazardous materials to pass through the city.

And it's one of those corridors -- it's part of the Acela Corridor. That critical stretch of roadway that extends from Washington D.C. to New York

City, so, this is really going to have an economic impact on not just the city of Baltimore, but really, potentially, this whole region as well.

But I will say that President Biden, when he spoke little over an hour ago, he made sure to note, he said that the federal government is --

QUEST: Yes --

FISHER: Going to be picking up the tab for this rebuilding this bridge, which is going to take -- I mean, likely a significant amount of time,


QUEST: Well, I was looking at the details. I mean, it took them five years to build it, so, even with Newmont and back in the 1970s -- thank you, I'm

very grateful. Thank you. Our Maritime expert is Don Maier; Professor of Supply Chain Practice at University of Tennessee, also a former dean for

the School of Maritime Transportation Logistics.

Come out -- so, first of all, we're getting a better picture, sir, aren't we? Loss of power, with that goes loss of control and lots of steering, May

Day, they dropped anchor I assumed to try and stop the ship, but it's simply not -- I mean, as the old proverb goes, you know, how long it takes

to turn or stop an oil tanker and now we now -- or container ship, and now we know.

DON MAIER, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, SUPPLY CHAIN PRACTICE, UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE: Yes, so, it is very difficult to just simply drop an anchor or

to stop a vessel. So, that's where that large plume of black, exhaust or smoke came out of this tack that we -- that you could see in the video.

That pretty much with probably -- probably the maps are signaling to the engine room to do a fast reverse, harder reverse, so that you can at least

try to get better control of the ship.

They may have realized at that point that they were losing control of the navigation system and they're probably trying to divert and go aground as

quickly as possible to avoid the collision with the bridge.

QUEST: But to -- the interesting thing, if we look at the -- we have an animation, you can't see it, but I will describe it. It shows the ship

leaving port, that's the big red mark, and there you see a ship coming forward, and it hits the bridge and then everything else.

So, it comes round, trying to protect afterwards? So, it was quite soon after leaving port that this happened. And if we then look at the video, we

see the lights go out. So, this was something fairly dramatic -- well, not fairly, very dramatic, that would have caused loss of -- that's the lights

going out and after the ship falling as it went through.

MAIER: Yes, so, again, it's -- you know, losing the lights. As long as we have the navigational aid lights on the vessel, that's the critical piece

of this. Obviously, you know, for safety reasons, if the crew is walking about the deck, they would need to have lights on board as well.

But in terms of the vessel getting through the channel, it doesn't necessarily have to have all of those lights on board, as long as my

navigational aid lights are on, that's a critical piece. But still, as you said, you know, once the mass realized that there is an issue, it's

possible that they were trying to make adjustments to stay within the channel or to find a better place where they -- for lack of a better term,

hold the ship over to where --

QUEST: Right --

MAIER: It's more safe. And then at that point, everything, you know, is kicking up and it's going a lot faster.


QUEST: So, the investigation obviously is going to focus on why power or steering or control was lost. I don't want to sort of be cavalier when I

say this, but these things will happen. I mean, once they'd lost control and they were forward-moving and there was a bridge in the way, I mean,

it's always as if there was nothing that could be done.

MAIER: Correct, you know, it's a very unfortunate situation, certainly with the loss of life, Richard, that nobody would ever want to have. And but

unfortunately, you know, accidents are going to occur, and I certainly don't want to be flipping with that common either.

But things are going to happen, and we always try to make sure that we can do what we can. That's the reason why, you know, kudos to the maps or to

the pilot or whomever gave the May Day call, that was absolutely critical at that point in time, they knew that there was a situation that may not

have been controllable for them.

We need to make sure that we can notify others to lessen the impact, and then, of course, you know, they're trying to get better control of the

vessel and then you could see the ship take a quick, hard turn to starboard, to where it was probably potentially going aground, otherwise,

it could have been much worse potentially.

QUEST: I'm grateful to you, sir, thank you very much. Thank you. Reproductive rights once again front and center in the United States. In

the two years after the landmark ruling reversing Roe versus Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in a blockbuster case that could limit access

to the abortion drug Mifepristone.

Central to the case is whether the FDA, that's the drug administration overstepped its authority by making it easier for women to get the drug,

sort of two drugs in a regimen for medication abortion. Early last year, research shows it was using 62 percent of all terminations across the


CNN justice correspondent Jessica Schneider is outside the courthouse in Washington. Interesting, we got to -- you could always tell with the

questioning how they are minded and thinking. What did you learn?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Richard, it really did appear that we're going to have a majority of justices who could vote to

toss this case out. That would mean that the FDA, the government, could potentially win on the grounds here that the doctors who brought this case

two years ago didn't even have the standing or the legal right to actually bring this lawsuit.

You know, the basis of the doctors argument is that they might at some point have to treat a woman who comes to their emergency room with

complications from this abortion pill, Mifepristone, and that they might have to treat her when they disagree with abortion.

And the government and the drug manufacturer, they're arguing, you know, this type of hypothetical injury is just too far removed, too hypothetical

to prove the basis of a lawsuit. Now, the lower courts disagreed. They let the lawsuit move forward, they've enrolled in favor of the doctors.

They said that certain aspects of this drug should -- they shouldn't allow it, making it harder to obtain. But it does seem the Supreme Court might

just toss this case and not even get to the heart of the issue, which is did the FDA follow proper procedure when it made the abortion pill easier

to obtain in recent years?

QUEST: Yes --

SCHNEIDER: Here though was the conservative Justice Samuel Alito. He asked, you know, was there any way to find that these doctors had standing? Take a



SAMUEL ALITO, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES: Could you provide a more specific answer to the first question that Justice

Thomas asked you. Is there anybody who could challenge in court the lawfulness of what the FDA did here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In this particular case, I think the answer is no.

ALITO: Well, that wasn't my question. Is there anybody who can do that? Let's start with the states that intervened below.


SCHNEIDER: So Justice Alito, one of the conservatives on the court trying to maybe find a way that there could be some standing in this case, but

Richard, this case is yet another flashpoint in the abortion debate. And that's two years after the Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade.

So once again, the court is being pulled back in --

QUEST: Right --

SCHNEIDER: On this case, and once again, they'll issue a decision on abortion in an election year, we're likely to get it by late June. You

know, it's a particularly fraught subject because more than half of the abortions are administered medically with the use of this abortion pill


So, if it's scaled back at all, it would be less available to women all over the country, but in particular, those who live in states that have

already outlawed abortion. Women in those states can still -- can still, in some sense have abortions because this pill can be shipped by mail.

So, a very fraught issue that the Supreme Court is once again considering.

QUEST: Right, but it looks -- but if they go down the locus that the doctors don't have standing root.


QUEST: Essentially they're ducking the bigger question.

SCHNEIDER: Exactly, they would just kind of toss this lawsuit out and then presumably --

QUEST: Yes --

SCHNEIDER: You know, the people who brought this case, they might look to other people who can prove standing -- can prove that they were injured.


So, you know, in a few years, we might see this case percolate again if the Supreme Court, like you said, doesn't get to the bigger issue here.

QUEST: Jessica, thank you. As we continue tonight, the U.S. and Israeli Defense Ministers are meeting at the Pentagon, the strain bilateral

relations over the war in Gaza, and that U.N. Security Council resolution yesterday, a live report ahead. Also, Israel is pressing ahead with its

war, rejecting that resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire.


QUEST: U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is urging Israel to expand aid deliveries to Gaza by land, saying an immediate increase is needed to avert

famine. The Secretary of Defense was hosting the Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant at the Pentagon, Israel canceled a separate delegations trip

following the U.S.' declining to veto the Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire in the war. Austin said, urgent steps are now

needed to ease the humanitarian crisis.


LLOYD AUSTIN, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, UNITED STATES: Protecting Palestinian civilians from harm is both a moral necessity and a strategic imperative.

In Gaza today, the number of civilian casualties is far too high, and the amount of humanitarian aid is far too low. Gaza is suffering a humanitarian

catastrophe, and the situation is getting even worse.


QUEST: A tragic incident in Gaza underscores the need for more aid. Paramedics tell CNN, at least 12 people drowned as they tried to retrieve

air-dropped aid that landed in the sea. Natasha Bertrand is at the Pentagon. I've done my third Pentagon briefings on this.

They always point out the difficulties and dangers of these air drops. It sounds so simple, doesn't it? Just drop the thing by air, but then the

first lot hit people on the ground, and now people are drowning trying to rescue that that's dropped at sea.

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Richard, and look, what we're told from a defense official is that parachutes dropping this aid yesterday

around noon in Gaza, they did malfunction and they did not open properly. And so, when those aid shipments were being dropped over the sea, which is

protocol, ideally, the parachutes open and it floats towards land.


That did not happen, and they ended up falling into the sea, and you saw desperate people, very hungry people trying to go out and retrieve that

aid, and according to the paramedics that spoke to CNN, some of those people did in fact drown. But this really underscores, of course, what

Secretary Austin has been emphasizing to his counterpart here at the Pentagon today, which is that more aid needs to get in ideally via land.

That is the safest way to get this humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza. It is not clear just how receptive Yoav Gallant was to those in

treaties. We are told according to an official who just briefed reporters that they had a very candid discussion especially when it comes to Israel's

plans for Rafah.

But it does not seem like there were any solutions reached during this meeting today and during Gallant's meetings with National Security advisor

Jake Sullivan, as well as the Secretary of State Antony Blinken yesterday, Richard. So, it seems like these two countries are still very far apart on

what needs to happen.

QUEST: So, that nicely takes me to Jeremy Diamond in Israel. I mean, they were waiting for Austin to say this, it didn't come as a surprise when he

did I'm guessing, and they have no intention of doing much about it.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and listen the point of view from Israeli officials has always been that they are doing everything

they can to get more humanitarian aid into Gaza. Of course, the reality of that is, if you are now citing an increase in the number of trucks getting

in per day to Gaza to up to 200 trucks per day now, compared to a 100 in February.

That clearly shows that in February, when those same Israeli officials were saying they were doing everything they could, that they weren't. And so,

now they clearly are beginning to do more. At the same time though, it's clear that much more aid still needs to get in to avert a potential famine

that it could affect at least half a million people, most of whom are in northern Gaza.

And we've been watching the tragedy of this aid and of the lack of aid unfold in northern Gaza. Yesterday, 12 Gazans drowned as they tried to

retrieve that air-dropped aid that landed in the sea, multiple bodies washing on shore, people trying to perform CPR on them.

These scenes simply would not be happening, of course, if the humanitarian situation on the ground were not as desperate as it is.

QUEST: Jeremy, I'm grateful, Jeremy, thank you. Let's talk about this -- Jasmine El-Gamal; a former Middle East adviser of the Pentagon, the chief

executive of Mindwork Strategies. El-Gamal is with me. How bad do you think the relationship now is between the White House and the Israeli government?

JASMINE EL-GAMAL, CEO, MINDWORK STRATEGIES: Thanks for having me on, Richard. I think that when we were talking about the Israeli-U.S.

relationship, it's really important to separate between the sort of ever- changing relationship between individuals at the top of both countries.

So, prime ministers and presidents, and the structural longstanding institutionalized relationship between the United States as a country, as a

government, and the state of Israel. So, if we're talking about the former right now, obviously, there have been huge tensions over the last few

months because of Prime Minister Netanyahu's behavior, his refusal to take on any of Washington's suggestions regarding the conduct of the war.

Basically, bragging domestically to his Israeli audience that he is not listening to Washington, that he's --

QUEST: Right --

EL-GAMAL: Withstanding the pressure from President Biden, that he's the only prime minister who could prevent a Palestinian state. That stuff is

happening at the personal level. But if you look at underneath all of that at the institutionalized relationship, it remains intact.

The U.S. continues to provide Israel with weapons in this spending bill that just passed, you had the $3.8 billion for Israel in assistance and so

on. And so, the overall relationship between the two countries remains strong, although at the personal level, there have been some difficulties.

QUEST: If Israel does not acquiesce in some shape or form to the request for ceasefire, will it and is there a risk of a breach in relationship that

would be very difficult to repair?

EL-GAMAL: Certainly, you can already see a breach in sort of the trust and the relationship amongst certain individuals in the United States. For

example, individual senators, certainly Senator Bernie Sanders and others have been very critical of Israel saying, listen, we have to re-evaluate

this support for Israel, this unconditional support, given what we have seen and what is happening.

Now, the more Israel continues to operate the way it's been operating in Gaza, the more people continue to see horrific images of people dying as

they're trying to get aid from the sea or children dying of starvation.


Certainly, if Prime Minister Netanyahu decides to go forward with the Rafah operation, we're going to see many more casualties and many more images

like that. That will have to have an impact, I think on the relationship long term, not necessarily immediately.

QUEST: OK, so, on the other side of that equation, how far can the U.S. President, the EU -- how far can they push it? How far? Because at the end

of the day, they don't want Israel -- oh, absolutely, they don't want Israel to fall, whether Netanyahu falls is a different matter.

But how far can they push before they have to basically be aware of real existential crisis for Israel?

EL-GAMAL: You know, that's a really good question and it's a really important point that I think a lot of people inside the U.S. administration

are debating as well as of course, throughout governments across the western world in terms of their support for Israel.

I think that the U.S. administration sees Netanyahu as temporary, OK? Prime Minister Netanyahu was the Prime Minister, he won't always be the Prime

Minister. However, the state of Israel in accordance to U.S. sort of longstanding policy, that will remain, and that is what Secretary of

Defense, for example, as early as December 2nd of last year has been saying publicly, I am worried that Israel is heading for a strategic failure if

the number of civilian casualties continue to rise.

He said that back in December, and he repeated it again today. And that's the sort of stuff that the U.S. is worried about regardless of who the

leader is in Israel, they're worried about the longstanding security implications for Israel if it continues to behave the way that it has,

creating more and more security vacuums, obviously, enormous humanitarian crisis in Gaza, that's an understatement, of course. And that's not good

for Israel in the eyes of the U.S. administration. And that's the --

QUEST: Right --

EL-GAMAL: Type of conversation that American officials have been having with their counterparts for the last several months.

QUEST: I'm grateful, thank you very much. Thank you for talking to us. Thank you. Still to come, more on the Baltimore bridge collapse, search and

rescue operation is now in its 13th hour since the Dali struck the bridge.



QUEST: Welcome back. Joined by our national political correspondent, Eva McKend, for-- who's in Oakland, California. It's where the independent

presidential candidate, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., is due to speak and announce a V.P. candidate.

EVA MCKEND, CNN U.S. NATIONAL POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Richard, you know, Nicole Shanahan is expected to be the pick. She is a political

newcomer that is going to be propelled into the national spotlight in a big way today.

And this could be a game changer for this campaign. You know, historically, independent campaigns in America have really struggled to compete against

Democrats and Republicans because they just don't have the finances. They don't have the infrastructure. But Shanahan is a woman of great personal

wealth. She's formally married to the co-founder of Google, who is a billionaire. She is a Silicon Valley lawyer. And she has a tremendous

amount of resources.

She already donated upwards of $4 million to an associated Super PAC with Kennedy. And that was -- that allowed him -- allowed the Super PAC to be

able to put on this splashy, large Super Bowl campaign ad.

And so now, the big effort for this campaign is going to be getting on the ballot in states across the country. And no doubt, with her resources,

they're going to be able to pretty credibly mount this effort, Richard.

QUEST: Many thanks. Please come out and tell us more when it's announced to be made. Thank you.

To return to our top story, at least six people are unaccounted for after a major bridge collapse in Baltimore, Maryland. Search and rescue to find

those. Emergency services, two people have been rescued.

The bridge collapsed on Tuesday after being struck by a large cargo ship, the Dali. Baltimore's mayor has called the bridge collapse an unspeakable

tragedy. Our investigative producer, Katie Polglase joins me now.

What have you learned about the history of this ship and the route it was taking?

KATIE POLGLASE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE PRODUCER: Well, which we've been digging all day, trying to get footage as much as we can, online, live streams,

anything that is currently available.

Clearly, this ship has traveled quite far. It was meant to be heading to Sri Lanka. It had been based in this port for a day or so. And one of the

key things, really, we started noticing is that live streams, anything that was already set up in place around this harbor before the tragedy unfolded

was going to be the most crucial piece of evidence.

So, we started looking through any of them to see exactly what happened the minute before it unfolded, how it started unfolding, and potentially why as

well. Have a look at what we found.


POLGLASE (voice-over): This is the shocking moment the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapses after being hit by a huge container ship.

As videos emerge online from live streams and passersby, CNN has looked into exactly what happened. The ship in question is Dali, a 984-foot

Singaporean container ship that was heading to Colombo, Sri Lanka, with two pilots on board, the ship's management company says.

Using marine traffic, a public ship tracking platform, we identified Dali, the ship, as it set off at 12:50 a.m. in the morning. It follows a straight

path towards the bridge until 1:26 a.m. when it starts veering off course. Shortly after it crashes, rescue boats can be seen rushing to the scene.

We match this route to what we see in the live stream. Shortly before it veers off course at 1:24 a.m., we see here the ship's lights going out

before coming back on seconds later. At 1:25 a.m., we see large plumes of smoke coming from the ship. Then the lights go out again at 1:26 a.m. It

indicates a power failure. The crew on board did notify authorities of a power issue, according to the governor of Maryland.


Just before the bridge collapses, vehicles can be seen on the bridge, but as the May Day call goes out, luckily the traffic stops before further

tragedy hits. Still, as the search for survivors continues, Baltimore City Fire Department have since confirmed that their sonar have detected

vehicles in the water.

The ship had, in fact, crashed before. The Port of Antwerp in Belgium tells CNN back in 2016 when it was maneuvering out of a port it crashed. The

report said it suffered damages in the stern and transom. Now, with official investigations beginning, the question will be whether mechanical

or human error caused this terrible tragedy.


QUEST: Now, Katie, we were just talking about what would have happened if there had been traffic on the bridge. Well, take a listen to this audio and

then help us analyze it. The authorities clearing the bridge moments before.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need one of you guys on the south side, one of you guys on the north side, hold all traffic on the Key Bridge. There's a ship

approaching that just lost their steering. So, until you get under control, we've got to stop all traffic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) was enroute to the south side.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the first search (ph). I'm holding traffic. Now, if I was driving, we stopped prior to the bridge. So, I'll have all out of

the traffic stopped.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ten-four. Is there a crew working on the bridge right now?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. If we can stop traffic, just make sure no one's on the bridge right now. I'm not sure if there's a crew up there. You might

want to notify whoever the foreman is to see if we can get them off the bridge temporarily.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ten-four. Once the other unit gets there, I'll ride up on the bridge. All inner loop traffic is stopped at this time.

Once you get here, I'll go grab the workers on the Key Bridge and then stop the outer loop.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: T-13, dispatch. The whole bridge just fell down. Start whoever -- everybody. The whole bridge just collapsed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do we know what full traffic was stopped?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't get to the other side, sir. The bridge is down. We're going to have to get somebody on the other side of the (INAUDIBLE)

County MSP to get up here and stop traffic coming northbound on the Key Bridge.


POLGLASE (on camera): I mean, extraordinary audio there, really. So, calm. And yet, what they're describing is something absolutely catastrophic. But

it is key as to why this tragedy unfolded as it is and why it wasn't even worse, which is if you look closely at that bridge, you're seeing the

trucks going across that bridge as that ship is it encroaching, as you just described to me, slowly, slowly getting towards that bridge.

But as it actually crashes, you don't see any vehicles, and that is why, it's because of that May Day call. They stopped the traffic just in time.

And luckily, it meant there weren't vehicles above it as it crashed.

QUEST: We are expecting a news conference from the NTSB, National Transportation Safety Board, which will be the body that will investigate

this. An investigation is also being held by the Singaporean authorities where the Dali was registered.

And the more I look at that, there's a haunting picture. You see the front of the ship against the bridge. That bridge, I mean, never stood a chance.

I know people talk about, well, you can put barriers around and you can build things. But we will discuss that after we've heard from the NTSB.

Their news conference is underway.

JENNIFER HOMENDY, CHAIR, U.S. NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD: To investigate an accident involving a Singapore registered vessel with the

name Dali, D-A-L-I, which made contact with the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland at around 1:30 a.m. this morning.

The vessel is 985 feet long. It's a 95,000 gross ton container ship. I've seen information about crew members on board. We still need to verify the

numbers of crew on board and their status.

Under our memorandum of understanding with the Coast Guard, the NTSB is leading this investigation. The Coast Guard will support this

investigation. Our memorandum of understanding, for example, provides for when an accident involves another mode of transportation and other factors,

the NTSB will lead that investigation.


Now, I want to thank the U.S. Coast Guard. We have a very cooperative relationship with the U.S. Coast Guard. I particularly want to thank Deputy

Commandant for Operations, Vice Admiral Gautier. I want to thank Admiral Gilreath, who's commander of the 5th Coast Guard District, and Captain

O'Connell, who's the sector commander.

Before I go on, on behalf of the NTSB, I want to extend our deepest sympathies to those who have been affected by this significant event.

The NTSB, as I mentioned, does many significant transportation events, not just aviation. We do accidents and incidents in marine safety as well, and

of course, with bridges and other highway infrastructure. And for this, there were many that were affected by this collapse, and our deepest

sympathies go out to the families, loved ones, and others who have been affected.

I'm going to get questions. On fatalities and injuries, which I'm not going to answer. That is not something that the NTSB answers. I will refer you to

local authorities on all of that information. What I can tell you is a search and rescue is still underway. So, we are very hopeful. And again,

our thoughts are with the families and their loved ones.

Again, we got here at 6:00 a.m., and we are standing back to allow the Coast Guard and search and rescue to continue their search and rescue

operations while we gather information from the command post.

There is a lot of information that we can begin to collect. We have a team of 24 on scene, including Member Brown and me. The team of experts include

experts in nautical operations, and what they're going to look at and begin to collect is information on vessel operations, safety history, safety

record, they'll look at the owner, they'll look at the operator, and they'll look at the operations this day -- today. They will also look at

company policy, any sort of safety management system, or safety management program will be looked at by them, and our human performance team as well.

We have a human performance expert here.

We have an engineering team. We have survival factors and then we have a team here that is getting the recorders. We also have a highway safety

team, our team out of the Office of Highway Safety, including structural engineers, bridge experts who will be here and are continuing to come in.

We have a few here and one or two others are coming in in the next few hours.

We also have our family assistance team on site and our family assistance team works with those that were affected by a particular event, families,

friends, and other loved ones, and they will help them get in touch with the resources they need while also providing them with the information that

they need as we move forward with our investigation.

This is a team effort. There are a lot of entities right now in the command post, all focused on search and rescue as they should be. But I do want to

in particular thank the Coast Guard, the Maryland Transportation Authority Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the Baltimore Fire and Rescue

and the Maryland State Police.

I also know that there are others on scene I'm sure I have missed, for example, the Army Corps of Engineers is here, a great deal of expertise and

all focused on what is very important, which is the people first.

I have been in contact with my counterpart in Singapore. Director Chong is the director of the Transport Safety Investigations Board. The NTSB

maintains relationships with our counterparts in other countries often and stay in close communication. So, the director and I have been in

communication many times before on safety. So, it was a good conversation.


He is sending some personnel here tomorrow. Also, personnel will be arriving from the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore who has the

focus of being the regulator in Singapore.

Now, it's not a lot of information that I can share at this time. And I know there's a lot of information that seems to be circulating. The NTSC

doesn't speculate. We provide facts. And so, there isn't a lot we can share right now because the focus has been on the people.

However, if you know me, I like to provide information as we can when we're able to verify those facts and be open about that. Transparency is one of

our mandates, one of our core values. So, please monitor and X where we will post when we're having another media briefing.

We do have an organizational meeting tonight at 5:00, which I mentioned to determine where we want to go next on the investigation, but there's a lot

of information we need to gather between now and then and the days and weeks that follow.

So, with that, I am going to take questions. I will call on you. Please state your name and your affiliation. We'll start with Tom and then go over


TOM COSTELLO, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Thank you, Chair Homendy. Tom Costello with NBC News. You spoke of one of the teams within this NTSB

structure looking for, specifically, the reporters on board the ship. Can you speak to what type of reporters may be on board the ship and what

information might they provide?

HOMENDY: Yes. At this time, I will have more information about the recorders tomorrow. We chose not to board the vessel today to allow some

time for the search and recovery, which we did not want to interfere with. That is the -- first and foremost, we do have some information, but we need

to verify that information first before I provide that information -- before I verify it. So, we'll have that information tomorrow, or maybe

later tonight if you want to check with me. Yes?

SABINA, ABC NEWS (PH): Sabina (ph) with ABC News. How long will the search go on today?

HOMENDY: The search is -- it's a question on how long the search will go on today. The NTSB is not in charge of the search and rescue operation. That

is the U.S. Coast Guard. So, I would refer you to the Coast Guard for that information. Yes.

NICOLE SGANGA, CBS NEWS: Hi there. Nicole Sganga of CBS News. Were the tugs pulled loose before the ship lost control? And can you give us a rough

timeline of when they were pulled loose and also curious what you can tell us about the timeline, how much time lapse between the pilot notifying

authorities and the actual crash?

HOMENDY: Yes, there's a question on the tugs and the timeline. Again, I know this is all information you're looking for. The information we get

which often happens in a large event where there are a lot of entities is there are there is conflicting information.

The NTSB focuses on the facts. So, we will figure that out and be able to provide that information in the coming days. Today is far too early for


SGANGA: Anything on the timeline?

HOMENDY: Nothing on the timeline so far.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ms. Homendy, how critical will a voyage data recorder be to investigating this?

HOMENDY: How critical voyage data recorded by to investigating this? It will be critical. It's a critical piece of our investigation, which is why

we have a recorders team here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ms. Homendy, have you been able to investigate or figure out why this ship did not immediately drop anchor when the power went out

and they were on force to (INAUDIBLE) the bridge?

HOMENDY: Again, that will be -- the question is on dropping anchor and whether they did or did not and the timing on that, again, that will be

part of our investigation and part of our timeline. I can provide you more information on that in the coming days, but not today.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE). I just wanted to check, do you have any information on the crew that was on board, their nationality? Were there 22

Indians on board? Apparently, there's a report that says there were 22 Indians who were on board?

HOMENDY: The question is who was on board the vessel and nationalities. Again, I've heard conflicting information on that as well. We will have to

get back to you on that. Yes?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have any reason to believe there were major deficiencies with the vessel before it sailed? What are you learning from

previous inspections?

HOMENDY: The question is, were there any deficiencies on the vessel before it sailed and will we be looking at any safety information.


That is part of our investigation where we look at in-depth at safety information, anything that may have occurred prior to this, any sort of

safety history with respect to the vessel, any sort of maintenance that was done to a vessel or the vessel or component on the ship, we will look at

all of that. But it's much too early for all of that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Spoke about the government (INAUDIBLE). Can you talk about the private sector folks (INAUDIBLE)? Are there folks from the

(INAUDIBLE) insurance companies that you're in contact with now, who are on the scene today?

HOMENDY: The question is, who are we working with from the private sector folks? I mean, certainly, we're going to -- we're working with the owner

operators, which are two different entities for this vessel. We will be working with the pilot association and we will have a number of federal

states and local partners as party to the investigation. We are going to designate those tonight at the organizational briefing and I'll have more

information on that tomorrow.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Given, obviously, the search and rescue effort is the main focus right now handled by the U.S. Coast Guard, but the Key Bridge

being such a major thoroughfare for the city and for our commerce, for our entire country, not to mention the waterways being shut down, is there any

sense of urgency to get this cleaned up faster or what exactly is the priority beyond just the search and rescue?

HOMENDY: There's a question on what's the priority beyond the search and rescue. We don't -- you know, certainly, investigations are a priority,

certainly environmental considerations are a priority and so is traffic and getting, you know, cargo vessels in and out of the Port of Baltimore. It's

not the NTSB's priority.

We have a number of organizations, including the Department of Transportation, Maryland Department of Transportation, the governor that's

doing a lot of work on that, but this isn't -- right now, it's about people. It's about families and addressing the needs of those that were

impacted, that's the focus.

I don't think anybody in that room right now at the command post is thinking about what are the next steps to get things cleaned up. They're

working to figure out who was impacted, if anyone was impacted, and how do we address that because that is and should be the priority always.

ERIK ROSALES, EWTN NEWS NIGHTLY: Erik Rosales with EWTN News Nightly. You talked a little bit about the families and you talked a little bit about

the rescue effort that's taking place, have we confirmed that there were any more than just the six construction workers that were on the bridge

itself? Were there any more possible, other cars, other drivers on the bridge?

HOMENDY: So, there's a lot of information -- the question is on, have we been able to confirm information on the number of cars on the bridge, the

number of workers on the bridge? There are a lot of numbers that we've heard back and forth. We need to verify that.

The search team is doing that now. That's not for the NTSB, that is for the local authorities, Maryland State Police, and the Maryland Transportation

Authority, as well as their federal partners through the Coast Guard to be able to verify that information in particular.

ROSALES: So, as of right now, there could be other victims than just the six that you're searching?

HOMENDY: There are -- nobody is going by a number. They are just looking and they're searching. That's what's important.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are there any kind of structural protections on this bridge? (INAUDIBLE) I've been hearing about (INAUDIBLE). Can you tell us

anything about this (INAUDIBLE)?

HOMENDY: Yes. The structure of the bridge -- there are some questions about the structure of the bridge, protective structure around the bridge or

around the piers to make sure there isn't a collapse. We are aware of what a structure should have. Part of our investigation will be what -- how was

this bridge constructed. It will look at the structure itself. Should there be any sort of safety improvements. All of that will be part of our

investigation. We go very broad in our investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) some kind of security (INAUDIBLE) or something like that?

HOMENDY: The question is, has the bridge ever been flagged for any sort of safety deficiency or security deficiency? That is information that we will

-- that will take them to dig through.


I will just point to our recent investigation of the Fern Hollow Bridge collapse, which took almost two years to get information on inspections and

what was and was not done after that -- those inspections, and whether there were records or not records maintained.

That's specific to Fern Hollow Bridge, but it is very cumbersome process. It's a very meticulous process where they have to dig through a lot of

information. So, it will not be something that we will be able to verify while on scene.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you able to (INAUDIBLE) and whether the data recorder might find (INAUDIBLE)?

HOMENDY: The question is on the reported power failure. We've heard the reports. We have been made aware of those same reports about there being a

power outage. I've also seen statements, media releases from Singapore as well. It's something that we take in, but something that we have to verify

through our investigation that that was -- what was part of the contributing cause here. So, too early to tell. Yes.

ANDREW, NPR: Hi, Andrew here from NPR. Can you confirm if the construction workers on the bridge were employed by Brawner Builders?

HOMENDY: Can I confirm whether the construction workers on the bridge were employed by Brawner Builders Incorporated? That is the information we have,

Brawner Builders Incorporated. Of course, sometimes they use subcontractors. So, we don't have any information yet on subcontractors,

but we do have information on the company itself.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chair, have you been able to confirm (INAUDIBLE).

HOMENDY: Is there any information on the -- anybody that is unaccounted for and whether they were able to verify with the company, that is something

that the federal officials, the FBI, along with the Coast Guard will verify, not the NTSB.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've gotten word that, of course, there were the construction workers. But one of the people was a state inspector. Can you

share any word if you know about that, and that that was the person that was rescued and taken to the hospital?

HOMENDY: The question is about a state inspector. I don't have information on the state inspector at this point. We are very focused on getting our

investigative groups up and running. Again, let the search and rescue team do what they need to do to focus on the people. And then we are gathering

information from the owner of the ship -- of the vessel and then the operator and others for this time.

Again, that was my last question. For further information, and I know it's not a lot of information for the first day, but we just got here. And

really the focus is on the families and the people. That is our main focus. That is everyone's main focus right now. The rest can wait.

So, please monitor and our Twitter feed for the next briefing. Thank you.

QUEST: Now, there we have a briefing from the chair of the NTSB. We didn't learn that much other than there is an enormous number of various bodies

involved, as one would expect official bodies. Everybody from the Army Corps of Engineers to the Coast Guard, the NTSB, all the regional and state

authorities as well. The FBI was even mentioned as being involved, and for good reason. The complexity of this is extraordinary.

She also mentioned, of course, Singapore and how she had been in contact with her opposite number, the investigative authority in Singapore. The

ship was Singapore registered. And the Singaporean authorities will be sending officials, both the regulator and the investigative authority will

be sending representatives to New York -- to Baltimore, Maryland.

And one of the things she said, there would be a meeting this evening when they would do the various designations. And what that means, of course, is

who they accept to the investigation, which organizations are accredited to it, what roles people play within it. Because as she pointed out, the

search and rescue is very much the province of the Coast Guard, the investigation, which would really only kick into full stream once, you

know, it becomes search and recovery. Then, of course, it will be the NTSB, with Singaporean input.

Extremely complicated. But let me leave with a shot -- forward shot of the ship and the bridge. That's the starkness of it. The Dali hitting the

bridge, collapsing it, and now, resting while they search for those who may have been lost as a result.

This is CNN. Jim Sciutto is next.