Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore Collapses After Being Struck by Cargo Ship

News & Politics

The Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore was struck by the container ship Dali at 1:28 a.m. today, leading to the collapse of the entire center span.

The video below tells the story. The Dali lost power and began to veer toward the center span. It appeared to regain power for a few seconds but then lost power again, at which point the ship slammed into the support.

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At least two people have been pulled from the water. It didn’t appear that there was much traffic on the bridge at the time of the collapse, although there are reports that an unknown number of construction workers were on the span at the time of the accident. The number of missing is unknown at this writing.

“Never would you think that you would see, physically see, the Key Bridge tumble down like that. It looked like something out of an action movie,” said Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott during an update. He called the situation “an unthinkable tragedy.”

I’m sure referring to the collapse as an “action movie” made those waiting for news of their loved ones feel really special.

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“This is a dire emergency,” Baltimore Fire Department director of communications Kevin Cartwright told the Associated Press. “Our focus right now is trying to rescue and recover these people.” He called the collapse a “developing mass casualty event.” 

Fox 5:

Maryland Department of Transportation Secretary Paul J. Wiedefeld said vessel traffic into and out of the Port of Baltimore has been suspended, but ground traffic can still get through.

The Maryland Transportation Authority reported that all lanes of the bridge were closed and traffic was being detoured.

Maryland Governor Wes Moore declared a State of Emergency in the state and was working to deploy federal resources.

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Sadly, it being March, with winter weather and water conditions, rescuers are now referring to their work as a “recovery operation” and not a rescue.

Kevin Cartwright, director of communications of the Baltimore City Fire Department, told CNN that the freezing waters “pose a concern” in finding those missing. “It feels like at least about 30 degrees where I am,” Cartwright continued. “It could be slightly lower than that. And I’m sure that the water temperature is even colder… And that can pose a concern and risk for our divers.”

Baltimore Fire Chief James Wallace says that several vehicles have been detected below the surface.

“Our sonar has detected the presence of vehicles submerged in the water,” Wallace said at a news conference on the collapse of Francis Scott Key Bridge. “I don’t have a count of that yet.”

If the collapse had happened 12 hours later, the casualties would have skyrocketed. The Key Bridge, opened in 1977, is the second busiest bridge in the Baltimore area, topped only by the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

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