Baltimore Key Bridge Collapses: Vehicles Plunge into Water Following Ship Collision

Calista Alma
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March 27, 2024

Following a collision between a cargo vessel and the Francis Scott Key Bridge, a major bridge in Baltimore, Maryland, collapsed early Tuesday, sending numerous vehicles into the water.

Video footage appeared to capture a significant portion of the 2.6km bridge collapsing, causing multiple vehicles to fall into the Patapsco River below. Emergency calls came in around 1:30 am, reporting a vessel outbound from Baltimore hitting a bridge column, leading to its collapse.

The Maryland Transportation Authority announced the closure of all lanes in both directions on I-695 Key Bridge due to the incident. It later confirmed the collapse was a result of the ship strike. The Francis Scott Key Bridge, built in 1977, spans the Patapsco River and serves as a vital transportation link in the region, named after the author of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the American national anthem.

The Baltimore fire department launched search efforts for at least seven individuals believed to be in the water after reports of a large vessel striking the bridge. The vessel reportedly caught fire before sinking. Rescue operations faced challenges due to unsafe and unstable conditions caused by dangling cargo or retainers from the bridge.

The situation was described as a “developing mass casualty event.” The coastguard received reports of the impact at 1:27 am ET, indicating that the Dali, a 948ft Singapore-flagged cargo ship, struck the bridge. Synergy Marine Group, the Dali’s manager, confirmed the collision with a bridge pillar. All crew members, including two pilots, were safe, and no injuries were reported. Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott and County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. confirmed emergency personnel were on-site, conducting rescue operations.

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