In a devastating incident early on Tuesday, March 26, 2024, the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland, collapsed after being struck by a container ship.

The Baltimore City Fire Department reported that several individuals, approximately 20, were believed to be in the water following the collision between a large vessel and the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

As a result of the incident, all lanes are closed in both directions on I-695 Key Bridge, with traffic being detoured. The Maryland Transportation Authority confirmed the collapse was due to a ship strike and described the scene as an active ongoing emergency.

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According to Kevin Cartwright, the director of communications for the Baltimore Fire Department, the collision occurred when a vessel traveling outbound from Baltimore struck a column on the bridge, leading to its collapse. There were several vehicles on the bridge at the time, including one the size of a tractor-trailer. The rescue operation was described as a "developing mass casualty event."

Rescue efforts were complicated by the presence of dangling cargo or retainers from the bridge, creating unsafe and unstable conditions. The Baltimore Fire Department emphasized the gravity of the situation, describing it as a dire emergency.

11Alive via YouTube
11Alive via YouTube

The United States Coast Guard received a report of the impact at 1:27 a.m. ET. Petty officer Matthew West confirmed that the Dali, a 948-foot Singapore-flagged cargo ship, had collided with the bridge, which is part of Interstate 695. The Dali had departed Baltimore at 1:00 a.m. en route to Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, according to maritime data platform MarineTraffic.

Synergy Marine Group, the manager of the Dali, confirmed the collision with one of the bridge's pillars. All crew members, including the two pilots, were accounted for, with no reports of injuries. The exact cause of the incident is yet to be determined, and the Dali has initiated its qualified individual incident response service.

11Alive via YouTube/Canva
11Alive via YouTube/Canva

Local authorities, including Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott and county executive Johnny Olszewski Jr., emphasized that emergency personnel were on the scene, actively engaged in rescue efforts.

The collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge is a significant blow to Baltimore's transportation infrastructure. Constructed in 1977, the bridge has played a vital role in the region's shipping industry as a crucial artery spanning the Patapsco River.

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