Washington, United States

A major bridge in the US city of Baltimore collapsed Tuesday after a ship collided with it, sending up to 20 people and multiple vehicles plunging into the water below.Dramatic CCTV footage shows what appears to be a container ship hitting a footing of the Francis Scott Key bridge, sending the entire steel-built structure into the Patapsco River.

Lights from what appear to be vehicles can be seen on the road surface as the bridge warps and crashes in sections, with the third tranche cantilevering upwards before it, too, tumbles into the water.

(FILES) An outbound cargo ship passes under the Francis Scott Key Bridge, March 9, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. U.S. President Donald Trump announced that he will impose tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on imported aluminum with an initial exemption for Mexico and Canada. – The Francis Scott Key Bridge in the US city of Baltimore collapsed early March 26, 2024 after a large ship collided with it, US media reported, citing video of the incident. (Photo by MARK WILSON / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP)

“Unfortunately, we understand that there were up to 20 individuals who may be in the Patapsco River right now as well as multiple vehicles,” Kevin Cartwright of the Baltimore Fire Department told CNN.

“So we have… a mass-casualty multi agency incident. underway.

“We understand that there could have potentially been a vehicle, a tractor trailer or a vehicle as large as a tractor trailer on the bridge at the time that it collapsed.”

A huge emergency response swung into action after the collision, which happened around 1:30 am (0530 GMT), with first response vehicles crowding the shoreline.

Divers were in the water looking for survivors, Cartwright said, with temperatures hovering around freezing.

The 1.6-mile (2.6-kilometer), four-lane bridge spans the Patapsco River southwest of municipal Baltimore.

It opened in 1977 and carries more than 11 million vehicles a year.

It is a major part of the road network around Baltimore, an industrial city on the US East Coast next to the capital Washington DC.

The Maryland Transportation Authority told drivers to avoid the bridge, part of the I-695 interstate highway, which it called an “active scene”.

Ship monitoring website MarineTraffic showed a Singapore-flagged container ship called the Dali stopped under the bridge early Tuesday.

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scoot and Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr both said they were aware of the incident and that rescue efforts were underway.

“Please pray for those impacted,” Olszewski posted on X.

Scott said he was “en route to the incident.”


© Agence France-Presse


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