Audio Reveals How Police Quickly Closed the Key Bridge Ahead of Crash

Shortly before a massive cargo ship struck the Francis Scott Key Bridge early Tuesday, crew members issued a mayday call that allowed officers a few precious minutes to close down the bridge to traffic, likely saving lives.

A construction crew fixing potholes was unable to escape in time. Six workers are presumed dead, and recovery efforts to find their bodies are continuing. The effort to rapidly shut down traffic likely prevented more cars from being on the bridge during the collapse, officials said.

Here is a transcript of audio from a Maryland Transportation Authority Police channel, revealing how officers responded to the mayday call and successfully halted traffic. The audio was posted on the Broadcastify website.

1:27:53 a.m. Speaker 1: 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 they get that under control, we’ve got to stop all traffic.

1:28:09 a.m. Speaker 2: (inaudible) I’m en route to the south side.

1:28:13 a.m. Speaker 3: (inaudible) I’m holding traffic now. I was driving but we stopped prior to the bridge, so I’ll have all outer loop traffic stopped.

1:28:25 a.m. Speaker 1: 10-4, is there a crew working on the bridge right now?

1:28:29 a.m. Speaker 4: (inaudible)

1:28:35 a.m. Speaker 1: Got it.

1:28:37 a.m. Speaker 4: Want me to stop traffic along this site right now?

1:28:42 a.m. Speaker 1: Yeah if we could stop traffic, just make sure no one’s on the bridge right now. I’m not sure where there’s a crew up there. You might want to notify whoever the foreman is, see if we could get them off the bridge temporarily.

1:28:58 a.m. Speaker 4: 10-4, once the other unit gets here I’ll ride up on the bridge. I have all inner loop traffic stopped at this time.

1:29:17 a.m. Speaker 4: Once you get here, I’ll go grab the workers on the Key Bridge and then stop the outer loop.

1:29:27 a.m. Speaker 5: C-13 Dispatch, the whole bridge just fell down! (inaudible), whoever, everybody, the whole bridge just collapsed.

1:29:35 a.m. Speaker 6: 10-4. Dispatch is direct.

1:29:35 a.m. Speaker 4: That’s correct. (inaudible) First time.

1:29:48 a.m. Speaker 1: Do we know if all traffic was stopped?

1:29:51 a.m. Speaker 4: 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 in Anne Arundel County, M.S.P. to get up here and stop traffic coming northbound on the Key Bridge.

1:29:51 a.m. Speaker 5: C13, I’m holding all traffic northbound.

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