People and vehicles fall into water as Baltimore bridge collapses after being hit by ship | US News


A major bridge has collapsed in the US city of Baltimore after it was hit by a cargo ship.

Footage shows a large section of the 1.6 mile-long Francis Scott Key Bridge falling into the Patapsco River, following the collision at around 1.30am local time (5.30am UK time).

Vehicles can be seen in the video falling from the bridge.

Up to 20 people were reported to be in the water, according to Baltimore’s fire service.

Maryland governor, Wes Moore, declared a state of emergency as the search for people in the water continues.

Baltimore bridge latest: Follow live updates

The current temperature of the water in Baltimore Harbour is between 9-10C, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the US said.

Pic: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Baltimore bridge collapses after being hit by cargo ship, USA - 26 Mar 2024
The Francis Scott Key Bridge rests partially collapsed after a container ship ran into it in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, 26 March 2024.
Pic: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Kevin Cartwright, director of communications for the Baltimore City Fire Department, called the incident “a mass-casualty, multi-agency event” that would last for many days.

He said the main focus right now was “trying to rescue and recover these people”.

Pic: Streamtime Live
Pic: Streamtime Live

He said it was too early to know how many people were affected, but described the collapse as a “developing mass casualty event”.

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

“This is a dire emergency,” he added.

Pic: Andrew Doyle
Pic: Andrew Doyle

Pic: Andrew Doyle
Pic: Andrew Doyle

The container ship, known as the Dali, was headed to Colombo in Sri Lanka at the time of the collision.

Data from MarineTraffic showed the Singapore-flagged ship came to a halt at the bridge before two tug boats arrived at the scene.

CCTV and marine tracking data shows the Dali lose power, adjust its course and start smoking around 60 seconds before it hits the bridge.

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Watch marine traffic after bridge collapse

At least 10 boats are currently involved in the rescue operation.

The same ship was previously involved in a minor incident when it hit a quay at the Port of Antwerp in Belgium in 2016, according to Vessel Finder and maritime accident site Shipwrecklog.

The vessel was reportedly damaged in the incident, but there were no injuries or pollution issues reported.

File pic: Jon Bilous / Alamy
The bridge before the collapse. File pic: Jon Bilous / Alamy

On Tuesday, Synergy Marine Group, the company that owns the container ship, said all crew members, including the two pilots, have been accounted for and there were no reports of injuries.

Read more: What do we know about Baltimore bridge and the ship that hit it?

The company said the exact cause of the incident is yet to be determined.

Pic: Harford CO MD FIRE & EMS
Emergency services on scene. Pic: Harford CO MD FIRE & EMS

‘Most likely cause is failure in machinery’

David McFarlane, director of Maritime Risk and Safety Consultants Ltd, told Sky News that the most likely cause of the incident is a “failure in machinery or steering gear” rather than human error.

He said: “The first thing that springs to my mind is: was there a sudden fault with the ship’s engines or the steering gear? The other, of course, is: was there a navigational error?”

Pic: AP
Parts of the Francis Scott Key Bridge remain after a container ship collided with a support Tuesday, March 26, 2024, in Baltimore. The major bridge in Baltimore snapped and collapsed after a container ship rammed into it early Tuesday, and several vehicles fell into the river below. Rescuers were searching for multiple people in the water. (AP Photo/Steve Ruark)
The remains of the bridge. Pic: AP

He said there “should be no room for one person errors” because of the number of other people on duty at the time.

“The most likely cause of this is a failure in machinery or steering gear, but we just won’t know until the authorities have been on board. And even then, they’re unlikely to say what’s been going on for some considerable time,” Mr McFarlane said.

Earlier on Tuesday Baltimore’s mayor, Brandon M Scott, said emergency personnel were on the scene and rescue efforts were under way.

Johnny Olszewski, Baltimore county executive, said he was in contact with the chief of the fire department and the director of emergency operations.

Pic: Streamtime Live
Pic: Streamtime Live

“Please pray for those impacted,” Mr Olszewski added.

Bridge is ‘major artery’ for locals

The bridge, which is referred to locally as the Key Bridge, was described as a “major artery” for the area by resident Michael Brown.

“This is like an April Fools’ joke right now,” Mr Brown told Sky News’ US partner network NBC.

Michael Brown
Local Michael Brown said the bridge collapse feels like an April Fools’ joke. Pic: NBC

“It [the bridge] is a major artery in the area not only for traffic but for the port, hopefully everyone is okay that is involved.”

Mr Brown said he uses the bridge to visit family and its destruction is a “major issue” – but he noted the “emphasis should be on getting whoever is in the water out”.

“We have boats come through here all the time but not once have I seen a boat come close to hitting the bridge,” he said.

All lanes on the Interstate 695 – the road which runs across the bridge – were closed and traffic was rerouted by the Maryland Transport Authority.

Built in 1977, the bridge is one of the longest continuous truss bridges in the world, according to the National Steel Bridge Alliance.

There will be a special edition of The World with Yalda Hakim on Sky News tonight at 9pm.

Read original article here.

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