Bridge Collapse Hearings: Day Four

Apr 19, 2012

The fourth day of the Eggners Ferry Bridge Hearings began with testimony from the former third mate on the Delta Mariner.

The Coast Guard is working with the National Transportation Safety Board to discover the causes of the January 26 allision involving the Eggners Ferry Bridge and the Foss Maritime cargo ship, the Delta Mariner.

Officials questioned Franklin Altany today about his duties as third mate on the Delta Mariner and about the conditions and machinery onboard ship the night of the elision. In the course of the proceedings, Coast Guard investigators not only hope to determine the cause of the crash, but also how to avoid similar incidents in the future.

The third mate reported the crew did not encounter problems with the ship’s machinery or steering equipment. When an investigator asked Altany why no one looked at a map book to check the height the bridge’s spans, he responded that the transit seemed routine until it was too late.

He also corroborated Chief Mate John Newland’s testimony that only a portion of the lights were lit on the bridge at that time. The hearings continue this afternoon with scheduled testimony from the Pilot Advisor of the Delta Mariner.

Afternoon Update:

The Captain of the Delta Mariner began to testify shortly before noon today.  Captain Lloyd Patten testified he entered the ship’s wheelhouse just before the  crash and was not on watch at the time. 

Patten says at first, he did not know the ship was headed for any channel other than the bridge’s main span. He said he later told the pilot if he wanted to turn around, he should do so immediately, but the pilot believed the ship could clear the span. Patten is still testifying. The hearing continues through the afternoon.