Baltimore bridge collapse sends authorities scrambling to rescue people from river

Remains of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland after a container ship collided with a support.
Remains of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland after a container ship collided with a support. Copyright AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File
By Euronews with AP
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Local transportation authority has declared the collapse of the massive Key Bridge a 'developing mass casualty event'.

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A major bridge in Baltimore snapped and collapsed after a container ship rammed into it early Tuesday, sending several vehicles plummeting into the river below.

The vessel appears to have hit one of the supports of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, causing the roadway to break apart in several places and plunge into the water, according to a video posted on X, formerly known as Twitter. The ship caught fire and appeared to sink.

Rescuers are now searching for anyone in the water.

Two people were retrieved alive from the waters under the bridge, one in serious condition, according to Baltimore Fire Chief James Wallace. He said authorities “may be looking for upwards of seven people” but said that number could change. It was not clear if the two rescued were included in the seven.

"This is a dire emergency," Kevin Cartwright, director of communications for the Baltimore Fire Department, told The Associated Press. "Our focus right now is trying to rescue and recover these people."

He added that some cargo appeared to be dangling from the bridge.

Cartwright said it is too early to know how many people were affected. He called the collapse a "developing mass casualty event."

The bridge, which opened in 1977, spans the Patapsco River, a vital artery that along with the Port of Baltimore is a hub for shipping on the East Coast. It is named for the writer of "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Cartwright said agencies received 911 calls around 1:30am reporting that a ship leaving Baltimore had struck a column on the bridge. Several vehicles were on the bridge at the time, including one the size of a tractor-trailer truck.

Mayor Brandon M. Scott and Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. posted that emergency personnel were responding and rescue efforts were underway.

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