Ex-merchant marine captain warns there is 'no way of controlling' cargo ship with mechanical error

A former merchant marine captain – who’s traveled in and out of the Baltimore port "a number of times" – explained what happens when a mechanical error occurs on cargo ships. 

"When you look at these incidents, typically you'll look at human error, you'll look at mechanical error and possibly some sort of security concern. At initial glance, it looks here like it is a mechanical error," former Cpt. Klaus Luhta said on "Varney & Co."

"There are some cases where when a ship loses propulsion, you just have no way of controlling it," he continued. "And this appears to be one of those catastrophes where it was just out of the hands of what anybody could do."

The Francis Scott Key Bridge along I-695 in Maryland tragically collapsed into Baltimore harbor following a "ship strike," officials said.

Several vehicles and workers were on the bridge at the time of its collapse. On Tuesday, two people were pulled from the water, one in critical condition. Search and rescue operations for at least six others were suspended that evening at 7:30 p.m.ET. 

The Maryland governor's office confirmed that a cargo ship lost power and sent a mayday warning before hitting the Baltimore bridge.

The massive container ship named DALI has previously collided with infrastructure while docking, according to reports that show DALI collided with a stone wall at a dock in Antwerp, Belgium, in the afternoon of July 11, 2016.

The container ship suffered damage and was docked for repairs, but no one was injured in the collision, according to The New York Times.

"You're accelerating the vessel as you leave the port, so that you can maneuver under that bridge and through the channels effectively," Luhta explained. "So it's likely that as [an] increase in speed was occurring, there was a propulsion failure. It appears that way from the video."

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