Explosives experts and engineers have confirmed the version of the explosion of a truck on the Crimean bridge and suggested that the effect of the operation could have been greater, writes The New York Times.
Experts interviewed by the newspaper, after analyzing footage from the scene of the explosion, came to the conclusion that, as Russian officials had said, the cause of it was the explosion of a booby-trapped truck. They also noted that the position of the truck between the supports at the time of the explosion caused the bridge spans to collapse. The truck, according to experts, was in an ideal place for an explosion – in the middle of the span, where the structure is especially vulnerable.
According to experts, the collapse of the bridge testifies either to the careful preparation of the operation, or to the success of the performers. Bridges are designed with a large margin of safety, so that even a powerful explosion can cause minimal damage if it is made in the wrong place, the NYT notes. “For this [bridge collapse] to happen, a lot of things had to work perfectly,” said Vijay Saraf, Chief Engineer at Exponent.
At the same time, the effect of the explosion could have been greater if the explosion had happened one or two minutes later. At the moment of detonation, the truck was already moving towards the elevated part of the bridge, which is supported by steel arches. An explosion in this part could disable the entire road bridge and its restoration would take longer. Engineer Shankar Nair, who specializes in bridge design, called the detonation of the truck in the place where it occurred a mistake.
An explosion in such a place may indicate that the driver is not knew about the explosives in his truck, since a suicide bomber in his place would have reached the arched part of the bridge, the expert believes. The NYT notes that suicide bombers often behave erratically, and it is not clear whether the bomb used in the truck was powerful enough to destroy the arched part.
The truck contained at least several tons of explosives, depending on its type, I'm sure Nick Glumak, professor of engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana. Other experts suggest that one ton or less of explosive could have been enough for such an explosion.
Experts also doubt that the explosion of tanks with combustible material on the railway bridge was part of the plan of those preparing the sabotage.