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Radio transmissions of Jefferson Avenue Bridge crash released

Captain says ship was carrying 21,832 gross tons of iron ore pellets for Dearborn Rouge

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DETROIT – Radio transmissions have been released of a captain who was aboard a steamship that was hit Sunday after the Jefferson Avenue Bridge came down too soon.

The drawbridge runs over the Rouge River in Detroit and just after 2:15 a.m. Sunday, it came down on top of the Herbert C. Jackson.

LISTEN: Radio transmissions after Jefferson Avenue Bridge crashes down on freighter

The captain who was aboard the steamship seems to keep his cool after the 690-foot steamship hit the bridge.

"Yes, I just want to report that while trying to transit through the Jefferson Street Bridge, the Jefferson Street Bridge closed on me and I hit the bridge," said the captain.

The captain goes on to say that there weren't any injuries due to the ship striking the bridge.

"Definitely damage to the bridge and I haven't been able to check the ship yet, this just happened at 2:12," he said.

The captain said he had about 24 people aboard the ship at the time. He adds that the ship had diesel fuel aboard the ship, but there was no danger "of any sort of fuel contamination" at the time.

"The bridge had gone up for me, I was about 30 feet from entering the draw and the bridge closed, my bow hit the bridge," the captain told the Coast Guard dispatcher. "It closed on me while I was trying to go through. I dropped my stern anchor, I dropped my port anchor, and I was backing full, and I could not stop in time and I hit the bridge after it had gotten down."

Lt. Westmiller with the U.S. Coast Guard said the operator of the bridge was arrested after the accident and failed a breathalyzer test. Police said she blew over the legal limit to drive.

"Ah yes, I'd just like to inform you that I was just informed by a police officer, they have arrested the bridge operator as being intoxicated," said the captain aboard the ship just after 2:41 a.m. "Roger that, and also just for clarity, we are performing our required drug and alcohol test at this time."

The captain said he was carrying 21,832 gross tons of iron ore pellets for the Dearborn Rouge.

LISTEN: Radio transmissions after Jefferson Avenue Bridge crashes down on freighter