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Baltimore Bridge Collapse: Rescue Underway After Key Bridge Hit By Cargo Ship

26 Mar 2024 21:56

Islam Times - A major bridge collapsed in Baltimore on Tuesday morning after it was hit by a container ship, sending several vehicles plunging into the water below.

Rescuers were searching for survivors after the ship collided with a pillar supporting part of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, which carries the Interstate 695 over the Patapsco River southeast of the Baltimore metropolitan area.

The incident was captured in dramatic video, which showed smoke billowing from the boat, as the bridge and road it held tumbled into the river. A livestream showed cars and trucks on the bridge just before the collision. The boat did not sink and its lights remained on.

A spokesperson for Baltimore Police Department told NBC News that it was responding to the incident

“I can confirm at 1:35 a.m., Baltimore City police were notified of a partial bridge collapse, with workers possibly in the water, at the Francis Scott Key Bridge,” Detective Niki Fennoy said in a statement.

The US Coast Guard told NBC News it received a report at 1:27 a.m. ET that a “motor vessel made impact with the bridge” and confirmed it was a 948-foot vessel named DALI, a container ship sailing under a Singaporean flag.

"USCG has deployed three response boats, and pollution responders are en route," said a spokesman, Petty Officer First Class Matthew West.

Kevin Cartright, director of communications at the Baltimore Fire Department, told the Associated Press that an unknown number of people fell into the water, calling it a “dire emergency.”

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

The Maryland Transport Authority confirmed that the I-695 was shut because of the Key Bridge collapsing due to a "ship strike."

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski, Jr. said on X that he was aware of the incident and in touch with the fire service chief, the mayor of Baltimore and other local officials. “Please pray for those impacted,” he said.

Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott said on X he was on his way to the bridge. “Emergency personnel are on scene, and efforts are underway,” he said.

NBC News has contacted other emergency response agencies for further details.

Built in 1977 and referred to locally as the Key Bridge, it was later named after the author of the American national anthem.

The bridge is more than 8,500 feet, or 1.2 miles, long in total. Its main section spans 1,200 feet and was one of the longest continuous truss bridges in the world upon its completion, according to the National Steel Bridge Alliance.

The river and the port of Baltimore are both key to the shipping industry on the East Coast, generating more than $3.3 billion a year and directly employing more than 15,000 people.

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