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Body-worn camera footage shows initial response to Key Bridge collapse

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Posted at 9:43 PM, May 10, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-10 23:11:11-04

DUNDALK, Md. — Body-worn camera footage from the night of the Key Bridge collapse gives us an up-close view of the tragedy, moments after it unfolded.

The footage comes courtesy of an ABC News Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, and the video was captured by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. The DNR, according to its site, 'oversees the state’s maritime homeland security efforts, including daily patrols of critical waterfront infrastructure. '

The first body-worn camera clip, nearly two hours long, begins from an officer's perspective at almost 2:30 am the morning of March 26. The officer is in his car, turns on his sirens and sprints to a dock, boarding and piloting a boat.

He races out to the Key Bridge, which was rammed by the Dali container ship moments before, and puts his flashlight on the water.

"The vessel was heading out of Baltimore, it appears," the officer observed.

The officer then approached the Dali, shouting up at its crew "Is everybody okay up there?" hearing back that a crew member had a hand injury.

The officer goes back ashore, picks up more crew and heads back out to the scene.

"As of right now, I'm just conducting patrols of what's left of the bridge, up and down, see if we see anything," the officer can be heard saying.

At about 4 in the morning, first responders discuss the gravity of the collapse.

"You're gonna figure, I don't know how many vessels are in the anchorage waiting to come in here," one crew member said.

"It's going to take divers, we're going to have to bring, like, if it was me I'd be calling the Navy right now, asking for Navy divers that are used to work in an entangled environment like this."

"Something's missing here in the skyline. The whole center span is gone completely. It's in the water."

The officers stayed on scene for hours into the daylight. And when it arrived, the picture became clearer. Stunning aerial footage showed the extent of the damage and the swath of first responders on the water: the earliest stages of a weeks, months and years-long recovery.

This weekend, crews are planning to use controlled explosives to blow more debris off the Dali, allowing them to re-float the massive cargo vessel.

READ MORE: What the controlled demolition of the Key Bridge will look & sound like