The cargo ship struck the Baltimore Key Bridge, collapsing it and sending the vehicles into the water

BALTIMORE (AP) – A container ship crashed into a major bridge in Baltimore early Tuesday morning, causing it to snap in several places and plunge into the river below. Several vehicles plunged into the frigid water and rescuers are initially looking for at least seven people.

Two people were pulled from the water under the Francis Scott Key Bridge, one in critical condition, according to Baltimore Fire Chief James Wallace.

According to a video posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, the freighter appears to have crashed into one of the bridge’s supports around midnight when traffic is expected to be light. The ship caught fire and billowed thick black smoke.

  • Portions of the Francis Scott Key Bridge remain after a container ship collided with a support, Tuesday, March 26, 2024, in Baltimore.  Baltimore's main bridge collapsed and collapsed after a container ship crashed into it early Tuesday morning, sending several vehicles into the river below.  Rescuers were searching for many people in the water.  (AP Photo/Steve Ruark)
  • An outbound cargo ship passes under the Francis Scott Key Bridge, March 9, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
  • A cargo ship passes under the Francis Scott Key Bridge as it leaves Baltimore Harbor in Baltimore, Maryland on October 14, 2021.
  • A Federal Express crosses the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland on October 14, 2021.
  • A Federal Express and a Frito-Lay truck cross the Francis Scott Key Bridge and run over an Atlantic Container Line cargo ship on October 14, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland.

“You never think you’ll see, physically see, what bridge has fallen like that. It looked like something out of an action movie,” Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott said, calling it an “unthinkable tragedy.”

The fire chief said authorities “could find upwards of seven people” but said the number could change. It is not clear if the two rescued are among the seven.

Sonar indicated that there were vehicles in the water, which was around 47 degrees Fahrenheit (8 degrees Celsius) early Tuesday morning. According to a buoy which collects data for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Earlier, Baltimore Fire Department communications director Kevin Cartwright told The Associated Press that there were several vehicles on the bridge at the time, including one the size of a tractor-trailer truck.

He called the collapse a “genocide in progress”, although he did not know at the time how many people were affected.

Cartwright added that some cargo was seen dangling from the bridge, which spans the Patapsco River at the entrance to a busy harbor. The river leads to the port of Baltimore, a major center for shipping on the East Coast. Opened in 1977, the bridge is named for the author of “The Star-Spangled Banner”.

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore declared a state of emergency and said he was working to deploy federal resources. The FBI was also on the scene.

Synergy Marine Group – which owns and operates the vessel “Daly” – confirmed that the vessel hit a pillar of the bridge at around 1:30am while two pilots were at the controls. It said all crew members, including the pilot, were accounted for and no injuries were reported.

From a vantage point near the bridge’s entrance, the jagged remains of its steel frame were visible sticking out of the water, with the ramp ending abruptly where the span once began.

According to Marine Traffic and VesselFinder, a vessel named DALI departed from Baltimore to Colombo, Sri Lanka as its final destination. The ship was flying under the flag of Singapore, the WTOP radio station reported, citing Coast Guard Petty Officer Matthew West in Baltimore.

In 2001, a freight train carrying hazardous materials derailed and caught fire in a tunnel in downtown Baltimore, sending black smoke billowing into the neighborhood and forcing officials to temporarily close all of the city’s major thoroughfares.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *