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HomeWorldRescuers search water after ship collision leads to Baltimore bridge collapse

Rescuers search water after ship collision leads to Baltimore bridge collapse

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A major bridge collapsed in the U.S. port of Baltimore in the early hours of Tuesday after being struck by a container ship, plunging cars and as many as 20 people into the river below.

Rescuers were searching for survivors in the Patapsco River after huge spans of the 1.6-mile (2.57 km) Francis Scott Key Bridge crumpled into the water.

As many as 20 people could be in the river along with “numerous vehicles, and possibly a tractor-trailer or a vehicle as large as a tractor-trailer, (that) went into the river,” Kevin Cartwright, the spokesperson for Baltimore City Fire Department, told Reuters.

“This is a mass-casualty, multi-agency event,” he said. “This operation is going to extend for many days.”

A live video posted on YouTube showed the ship ploughing into the bridge in darkness. The headlights of vehicles could be seen on the bridge as it crashed down into the water and the ship caught fire. Reuters could not immediately verify the videos.

The 1.6-mile (2.57 km) long Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland collapsed into the water overnight after a cargo ship collided with it on March 26.

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“We received several 911 calls at around 1:30 am, that a vessel struck the Key Bridge in Baltimore, causing the collapse,” Cartwright said.

Baltimore police said they had been notified of the incident at 1:35 a.m. ET (535 GMT).

Ship tracking data from LSEG shows a Singapore-flagged container ship, the Dali, at the location along the Key Bridge where the accident occurred. The registered owner of the ship is Grace Ocean Pte Ltd and the manager is Synergy Marine Group, LSEG data show.

Synergy Marine Corp said that the Dali collided with one of the pillars of the bridge and that all its crew members, including the two pilots, had been accounted for and there were no reports of any injuries.

Reuters could not immediately reach Grace Ocean for comment.

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

It was not immediately clear if the Baltimore port operations were impacted due to the collapse.

The port’s private and public terminals handled 847,158 autos and light trucks in 2023, the most of any U.S. port. The port also handles farm and construction machinery, sugar, gypsum and coal, according to a Maryland government website.

The Baltimore port did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.

“I’m aware of and en route to the incident at the Key Bridge… Emergency personnel are on scene, and efforts are underway,” Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott on X.

The bridge, named after Francis Scott Key, a lawyer and author, opened in 1977.

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