US: bridge collapses after a ship collision; people and vehicles fall into river

Asma Ahmed - | World

The closure of all lanes in both directions stemmed from a significant incident involving the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore early Tuesday.

Following a collision between a sizable boat and the bridge, a section of the structure gave way, leading to several vehicles plunging into the Patapsco River. Efforts to rescue potentially up to 20 individuals were immediately initiated by authorities.

According to footage shared on X, previously known as Twitter, a large vessel collided with the bridge, subsequently catching fire and sinking, thereby contributing to the vehicular mishap in the river. The Maryland Transportation Authority's notification on X confirmed the closure of all lanes on the I-695 Key Bridge, redirecting traffic due to the ongoing situation.

Mayor Brandon M. Scott and Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. acknowledged the emergency and assured the public of ongoing response efforts by emergency personnel to address the crisis.

Kevin Cartwright, the Baltimore Fire Department's communications director, disclosed that around 3 a.m., emergency responders were actively searching for approximately seven individuals believed to be in the water. The initial report, received at 1:30 am, detailed a vessel departing from Baltimore that collided with a bridge column, leading to its collapse. Among the vehicles on the bridge during the incident was one as large as a tractor-trailer.

Cartwright emphasized the priority of rescuing and recovering those affected, describing the event as a "developing mass casualty incident." He cautioned about the precarious situation, noting that cargo or retainers were hanging from the bridge, rendering the conditions unsafe and unstable for emergency operations.

Given the urgency of the situation, Cartwright emphasized the dire nature of the emergency. The Francis Scott Key Bridge, inaugurated in 1977, has served as a crucial transportation link, now marred by this unprecedented catastrophe.

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Asma Ahmed
Asma Ahmed
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