Major road bridge in Baltimore collapses after being hit by cargo ship

Baltimore Fire Department chiefs said it is too early to know how many people were affected but called the collapse a 'developing mass casualty event'.

Footage shows the ship approaching the bridge and crashing directly into one of the support columns

The Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore has collapsed after being hit by a cargo ship early on Tuesday morning.

Two people have been pulled from the water, with one person in a serious condition, while at least are seven others are still missing, James Wallace, Chief of Baltimore City Fire Department told a press conference.

ITV News’ US partner, CNN, earlier reported rescue crews were searching for at least 20 people who are believed to have fallen into the Patapsco River following the collapse.

Worker’s cones on the remaining parts of the Francis Scott Key Bridge lead up to where the major bridge snapped and collapsed. / Credit: AP

Temperatures at the port were around -1C at the time of the collision.

The large vessel crashed into the bridge at around 1.30am local time, and appears to have caught fire, according to a video posted on X, formerly Twitter.

The container ship was not being manned by its own crew at the time of the collision, but by local pilots who are typically brought in to manoeuvre boats from ports to open water.

It is too early to know the cause of Tuesday’s accident, Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul Wiedefeld at a news conference, as reported by CNN.

Contractors had been working on “the bridge at the time of the collapse”, according to Maryland State Transportation Secretary Paul Wiedefeld.

ITV News Political Correspondent Romilly Weeks talks through how the collision unfolded from the scene of the collapse

Mr Wallace says authorities using sonar, drones and infrared technology have detected a number of vehicles submerged in the water, but they don’t have “a count” of how many “yet”.

Multiple vehicles were on the bridge at the time, including one the size of a tractor-trailer.

Initial reports of the incident suggested the vessel began sinking following the impact, but it has since been clarified that it has not sunk.

Maryland state Governor Wes Moore announced he had declared a “State of Emergency”, and they were working with teams to deploy federal resources from the Biden Administration.

While Police have stated “there is absolutely no indication that there’s any terrorism, that this was done on purpose”.

Two people have been rescued from the water, one of which is in a serious condition. At least seven others are still missing, Baltimore Fire Chief James Wallace said

All 22 members of the shup’s crew, including two pilots, have been accounted for and there were no reports of injuries, according to the managing firm.

US Coastguard official Kimberly Reaves said it is currently unclear if there are any casualties.

Dive teams are currently in attendance joining the search for those in the water.

“Our focus right now is trying to rescue and recover these people,” Mr Cartwright said.

Authorities understand that the cargo ship that struck the Key Bridge is called the Dali. / Credit: APTN

The vessel that ran into the bridge is a 948-foot long ship called the Dali, that currently sails under the Singaporean flag. It had been en-route from Baltimore to Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Mr Cartwright said it appears there are “some cargo or retainers hanging from the bridge,” creating unsafe and unstable conditions, and emergency responders are operating cautiously as a result.

Officials have begun assessing the condition of the bridge following the collapse.

The bridge carried an estimated 11.5 million vehicles every year, and was used by approximately 31,500 vehicles every day.

Mr Cartwright said: “This bridge has been in place for quite some time and has served many, many commuters in the Baltimore metropolitan area.

“So as the investigation ensues, there will be structural engineers involved to try and assess what the condition of the bridge is.”

There remains disruption around the bridge and the surrounding areas as a result of the incident.

“All lanes closed both directions for incident on I-695 Key Bridge. Traffic is being detoured,” the Maryland Transportation Authority posted on X.

The bridge is named after Francis Scott Key, who wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner”.

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