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The Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed in seconds when a cargo ship crashed into a pillar

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In a tragic incident in Baltimore, Maryland, the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed early Tuesday morning following a collision with a cargo ship, prompting an extensive search and rescue operation.

The accident occurred at approximately 1:30 a.m. when a large vessel collided with one of the bridge’s columns, causing a section of this 1.6-mile-long structure over the Patapsco River to disastrously fold into the waters below. The collapse, captured on surveillance footage, shows vehicles and possibly up to 20 individuals plunging into the frigid waters.

The Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed in seconds when a cargo ship crashed into a pillar
Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Kevin Cartwright, the Baltimore City Fire Department’s Director of Communications, described the situation as a “mass casualty multi-agency incident,” with efforts underway to locate up to 20 people believed to have been affected by the collapse.

Maryland’s Secretary of Transportation, Paul J. Wiedefeld, reported that there were construction workers on the bridge at the time of the accident.

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott expressed his shock and sorrow at a press briefing, stating, “This is an unthinkable tragedy…It looked like something out of a movie. Our focus should be the preservation of life.”

As daylight broke, rescue teams faced challenging conditions, including strong currents and cold water, in their search for survivors, as described by Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski. Despite these difficulties, by 9:00 a.m. EDT, two individuals had been rescued, with one in very serious condition.

US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has commented that there are “no indications” the collision was intentional, suggesting the focus remains on the rescue efforts and investigation into how this tragic event occurred.

This story continues to develop, with authorities and rescue teams working diligently amidst difficult conditions to account for all individuals affected by the bridge’s collapse.