Structural engineer 'surprised' cargo ship was able to take down Baltimore's Key Bridge

Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge was gone in a flash early Tuesday after a cargo ship collided with one of its pillars, snapping the structure into pieces and sending it tumbling into the water below.

As rescuers scramble to find multiple people who remain missing and as the details remain unclear, experts weigh what could have possibly caused the catastrophe. One structural engineer – John Pistorino – says he's "surprised" the ship was able to take down the structure at all.

"At this point, I'm surprised that a container ship like that, which is so large, would be able to [take it down] even if it's off course," he said on "Fox & Friends" Tuesday.

"Back over in Tampa, we do have some means underwater now, so if the ship does get out of its own direction, it will divert it away from the critical parts of the bridge. There's underwater structures that the ship would come across before it actually got to the bridge itself," he continued, referencing the Sunshine Skyway Bridge that saw a similar disaster in the Tampa Bay area decades ago.

Continuing on that note, Pistorino outlined the need for "redundancy" in bridge construction. 

Redundancy, according to the American Institute of Steel Construction, is "the quality of a bridge that enables it to perform its design function in a damaged state" and is considered a "desired characteristic of good design."

Pistorino said the quality is something faulty bridges have lacked in the past.

"If we lose the critical part of one column, the structure itself tries to redistribute the load and then goes to the other column, which is apparently then overloaded… That's the nature of the structures," he explained.

"It could be a money thing, but I think, really, that the design of the redundancy would be something that should always be considered."

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