Baltimore: Key Bridge in Maryland collapses after massive ship collision

Baltimore’s Key Bridge has collapsed after it was hit by a container ship, sending cars that were crossing at the time plunging into the waters of the Patapsco River.

At least seven people are believed to be in the water and rescue efforts are ongoing at the site of the collapse, according to the Baltimore Fire Department.

Multiple videos shared on social media showed a large cargo ship ramming into one of the bridge’s support pillars, causing it to come crashing down into the river.

A large portion of the Francis Scott Key Bridge is now under water, as flight tracking website FlightRadar24 showed the Maryland State Police circling the site of the crash in a helicopter.

Kevin Cartwright, director of communications for the fire department, said the city was dealing with a “developing mass casualty incident”.

The 911 calls relating to the incident began from around 1.30am, he said, as members of the public said a vessel travelling out of Baltimore’s port had struck a column on the bridge. Multiple vehicles, including one the size of a tractor-trailer, were on the bridge at the time of strike.

“Our focus right now is trying to rescue and recover these people,” Mr Cartwright said, adding that its too early to know how many people are affected.

There are “some cargo or retainers hanging from the bridge”, he said, creating unsafe and unstable conditions. Emergency responders are operating cautiously. “This is a dire emergency,” he added.

The 47-year-old Key Bridge collapsed due to a “ship strike” incident and has been closed to traffic, the Maryland Transportation Authority said on X in a statement.

“All lanes closed both directions for incident on I-695 Key Bridge. Traffic is being detoured,” it said.

The container ship involved appears to be a Singapore-flagged vessel named Dali, live maritime data showed on Tuesday. It had just departed the port in Baltimore and was headed for the Sri Lankan capital Colombo, where it was due to arrive in late April.

Baltimore mayor Brandon M Scott said emergency personnel were on the scene and rescue efforts underway.

“I’m aware of and en route to the incident at the Key Bridge. I have been in contact with @BaltimoreFire Chief Wallace, @GovWesMoore @JohnnyOJr , and @AACoExec . Emergency personnel are on scene, and efforts are underway,” he wrote on X.

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