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Bridge Collapse Declared A ‘Mass Casualty Event’ As Cars And Pedestrians Plunge Into Icy Water

A Baltimore bridge has collapsed after being hit by a cargo ship, leaving many vehicles to fall into the freezing water.
Credit: @sentdefender/X & Harford Co. MD Fire

A bridge has collapsed in Baltimore, leaving vehicles and pedestrians falling into the icy water below.

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

The collision happened at around 1:30am local time (5:30am UK time).

A large section of the 1.6-mile-long Francis Scott Key Bridge has fallen into the Patapsco River – and the horrifying footage has since gone viral.

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Up to 20 people are reported to be in the water following the terrifying incident, per Sky News.

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

Kevin Cartwright, director of communications for the Baltimore City Fire Department, has revealed that authorities are searching for up to seven people.

The main focus right now is ‘trying to rescue and recover these people’, he claims.

He also confirmed the incident as a ‘developing mass casualty event’.

Baltimore Bridge
The bridge collapse has been declared a ‘mass casualty event’. Credit: StreamTime Live via YouTube

Mr Cartwright also points out that there are ‘some cargo or retainers hanging from the bridge’.

“This is a dire emergency,” he adds.

The container ship, which is named the Dali, was en route to Colombo in Sri Lanka at the time of the collision.

CCTV and marine tracking data show the Dali losing power, changing its course, and then starting to smoke before the collision.

Data from MarineTraffic showed the ship coming to a halt under the bridge before the tug Eric Mcallister arrived on the scene around 10 minutes later.

It was joined by a second tug Bridget Mcallister around 15 minutes later.

At the same time, a search and rescue vessel also arrived on the scene.

Baltimore Bridge
Cars and pedestrians plunged into the icy water below. Credit: StreamTime Live Via YouTube

Several boats are now involved in the search and rescue operation.

Governor Wes Moore has declared a state of emergency in Maryland, telling the BBC: “We are working with an interagency team to quickly deploy federal resources from the Biden Administration.”

He thanks the ‘brave men and women who are carrying out efforts to rescue those involved and pray for everyone’s safety’.

Synergy Marine Group, the company that owns the container ship, has confirmed all crew members are accounted for.

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The company has not yet offered an explanation or cause for the tragic incident.

David McFarlane, director of Maritime Risk and Safety Consultants Ltd, tells Sky News: “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?”

“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,” McFarlane adds.

Johnny Olszewski, Baltimore county executive, simply states: “Please pray for those impacted.”

The FBI and officers from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), are now on the scene.

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Written by Annie Walton Doyle

Annie Walton Doyle is a content editor at IGV who specialises in trending, lifestyle and entertainment news. She graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London, with a degree in English Literature. Annie has previously worked with organisations such as The Huffington Post, The Guardian, The Telegraph, Harvard University, the Pulitzer Prize and 22 Words.