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Key Bridge in Baltimore collapses after being struck by ship, sending vehicles into water


BALTIMORE (WISH) — A portion of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore collapsed after it was struck by a large boat early Tuesday morning sending multiple vehicles into the water. Authorities were trying to rescue at least seven people.

Around 1:30 a.m., a cargo ship crashed into the bridge, catching on fire before sinking and causing multiple vehicles to fall into the water below, according to a video posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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

Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott and County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. have confirmed that emergency personnel are on scene and that rescue efforts are underway.

Around 3 a.m., Kevin Cartwright, the director of communications for the Baltimore Fire Department, gave an update to the Associated Press. He said responders were searching for at least seven people believed to be in the water.

Cartwright says agencies received 911 calls around 1:30 a.m. reporting a vessel traveling outbound from Baltimore struck a column on the bridge, causing it to collapse. Multiple vehicles were on the bridge at the time, including one the size of a tractor-trailer.

Cartwright described the event as a “developing mass casualty event.” He says it’s too early to know how many people were affected.

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

“This is a dire emergency,” he said.

Around 5:45 a.m., the office of Maryland Governor Wes Moore released a statement on X, saying in part:

“My office is in close communication with U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski, and the Baltimore Fire Department as emergency personnel are on the scene following the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge. I have declared a State of Emergency here in Maryland. … We are thankful for the brave men and women who are carrying out efforts to rescue those involved and pray for everyone’s safety.”

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said on X that he has spoken with both Gov. Moore and the mayor of Baltimore about the collapse.

“Rescue efforts remain underway and drivers in the Baltimore area should follow local responder guidance on detours and response,” Buttigieg wrote.

Facts about the Francis Scott Key Bridge

  • Construction started in 1972 and the bridge opened on March 23, 1977
  • The bridge cost $60.3 million — equal to $317.8 million when adjusted for inflation
  • Total length before collapse: 57,546 feet or 10.9 miles
  • Clearance below: 185 feet
  • 11.3 million vehicles crossed last year
  • Historians believe span crosses within 100 yards of the site where Francis Scott Key wrote “The Star Spangled Banner”