Major Baltimore Bridge Collapses After Ship Collision

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A major bridge in the US city of Baltimore collapsed early Tuesday after being struck by a container ship, sending multiple vehicles and people plunging into the frigid harbor below.

Dramatic footage showed a 300-meter vessel hitting the Francis Scott Key Bridge, bringing the steel-built structure crashing into the Patapsco River.

Lights from what appear to be vehicles could be seen on the road surface as the bridge warped and crashed in sections, with the third tranche cantilevering upwards before it, too, tumbled into the water.

As daylight broke over the search and rescue operation with divers in the water looking for survivors, the horrifying extent of the incident became apparent.

Twisted stanchions of steel lay draped over the deck of the ship, on which stacks of containers teetered precariously — adding a further dimension of danger to rescue and recovery work.

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott said the incident was an “unthinkable tragedy,” adding “we have to be thinking about the families and people impacted, folks who we have to try to find.”

He described images of the collision as “like something out of an action movie.”

The footage appeared to show the ship going dark twice in the moments before the collision, possibly indicating some kind of power failure on board.

There was no immediate confirmation of the cause of the disaster, but Baltimore’s Police Commissioner Richard Worley said there was “no indication” of terrorism.

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.

Water temperatures were around 48 Fahrenheit (9 Celsius), narrowing the window of survivability.

Baltimore’s fire chief James Wallace said sonar had “detected the presence of vehicles” in the harbor, but declined to estimate how many.

One person was taken to hospital in “a very serious condition,” he said, adding a second person recovered from the water was uninjured.

“We may be looking for upwards of seven individuals,” he said.

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