"As A Result...": Biden's Shout-Out For SOS By Indian Crew On Ship

Baltimore Bridge Collapse: "As a result (of the call), local authorities were able to close the bridge to traffic before the bridge was struck, which saved lives," Joe Biden said.

'As A Result...': Biden's Shout-Out For SOS By Indian Crew On Ship

US Bridge Collapse: The Baltimore accident occured on Tuesday.

New Delhi:

US President Joe Biden praised local authorities for their prompt action during the accident at Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, one of the nation's busiest arteries that collapsed hours on Tuesday after being struck by a massive freight ship. He also made a special mention to the crew of the ship, all of whom were Indians.

"Personnel on board the ship were able to alert the Maryland Department of Transportation that they had lost control of their vessel, as you all know and have reported.  As a result, local authorities were able to close the bridge to traffic before the bridge was struck, which undoubtedly saved lives," Biden said in his address.

"We're incredibly grateful for the brave rescuers who immediately rushed to the scene," the US President added.

On Tuesday, the Singapore-flagged container ship Dali, departing Baltimore with a full cargo en route to Sri Lanka, crashed into a concrete pier supporting the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore.

Within seconds almost the entire bridge collapsed and plunged into what officials said was roughly 50 feet of frigid water below.

Moments before, the ship issued a Mayday call warning that it had lost power -- prompting authorities to scramble to shut down traffic to the bridge, potentially saving lives.

CCTV footage shows the ship going dark twice in the minutes before the crash. A puff of smoke can also be seen before the collision.

While all 22 crew were unharmed and accounted for, six repairmen on the bridge have been missing. They were part of a construction crew working on repairing potholes on the bridge when it collapsed around midnight.

Biden also announced that the federal government will pay the full cost to rebuild the bridge.

Asked why the federal government should pick the tab if the ship and its operator were potentially to blame, he said, "That could be but we're not going to wait for that to happen. We're going to pay for it to get the bridge rebuilt and opened."

Authorities have closed the port "until further notice" and traffic is being diverted away from the bridge as the rescue effort continues.

The collapse is expected to have a severe impact on the region. Traffic around Baltimore will be affected by the loss of the bridge, while shipping could also see long delays thanks to the debris now choking the waterway.