Federal criminal investigation opened into Key Bridge crash

On Monday, it was reported that the FBI opened a criminal investigation focusing on the massive container ship that brought down the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore last month — a probe that will look at least in part at whether the crew left the port knowing the vessel had serious system problems, according to two U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

Authorities are reviewing the events leading up to the moment when the Dali, a 985-foot Singapore-flagged ship, lost power while leaving the Port of Baltimore and slammed into one of the bridge’s support pillars, said the officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing probe.

Dozens of law enforcement officials began arriving at the Dali on Monday — where the crew has remained since the crash — pulling up to the ship’s bow in numerous boats and climbing aboard using a ladder. The FBI later confirmed that agents were on board, and the Justice Department said authorities were conducting a “court-approved search.”

The news of the criminal investigation, which one official said is being handled by the U.S. attorney’s office in Maryland, came the same day that multiple private law firms separately announced that they had been retained to represent the Baltimore mayor’s office and some of the men who were working construction on the bridge when it collapsed. The moves signal an escalating effort to seek accountability and determine what caused the crash that left six of the eight men dead, a question that both the independent National Transportation Safety Board and the Coast Guard’s Marine Board of Investigation have been working to answer in separate inquiries since the collapse March 26.

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