The Francis Scott Key Bridge has collapsed after cargo ship collision

Posted on 26 March 2024 By Savanna Douglas

The Francis Scott Key Bridge in Maryland US has snapped and collapsed after a container ship collided with it in the early hours of Tuesday. 

A video posted to social media shows the Francis Scott Key bridge – a crucial artery of the US’ Interstate 695 – snapping and then collapsing at approximately 1:30 am Tuesday, as a Singapore-flagged cargo ship measuring 290 metres caught fire and collided with the bridge, which spanned 2.6km across the Patapsco River.

According to reports by The Guardian, several vehicles travelling on the bridge at the time were flung into the water, as plumes of smoke billowed from the scene.

As per MarineTraffic, the ship that collided with the bridge had left Baltimore shortly before the incident at 1 am and was en route to Colombo in Sri Lanka before the collision.


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As per the Baltimore Fire Department, authorities are searching for at least seven individuals, who are believed to be in the water following the incident.

A social media statement released to X by the Maryland Transportation Authority (MTA) noted that the collision was caused by a ship strike.

“I-695 Key Bridge collapse due to ship strike,” the MTA wrote, urging drivers to avoid the route over the Patapsco River, which was labelled an “active scene”.

As per The Guardian, Kevin Cartwright, the director of communications for the Baltimore Fire Department, said:

“Our focus right now is trying to rescue and recover these people,” adding that the collapse is a “developing mass casualty event.”

Cartwright stated the rescue operation for the dire emergency presented with complications, as “cargo or retainers” could be seen dangling for the bridge, creating an unsafe and unstable environment, impacting authorities’ rescue operation.

As per the Synergy Marine Group, all crew members and pilots on board the ship are safe, and there have been no reports of any injuries on board the Dali.

Baltimore’s mayor, Brandon M Scott, and county executive Johnny Olszewski Jr have assured that emergency personnel were on scene and rescue efforts were underway for drivers who were travelling on the bridge when it collapsed.

The Francis Scott Key Bridge was built in 1977, and named after the author of the American national anthem, Francis Scott Key.


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