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Large bridge collapses in Baltimore after being hit by ship

Large bridge collapses in Baltimore after being hit by ship A bridge in Baltimore collapsed after being hit by a container ship (Getty Images)
Author: Maria Kholina

On the morning of March 26, a major bridge collapsed in the American port of Baltimore following a collision with a container ship, causing vehicles and approximately 20 individuals to plunge into the river, according to Reuters.

Rescuers are currently combing the waters of the Patapsco River in search of survivors after massive spans of the 2.57-kilometer-long Francis Scott Key Bridge tumbled into the water.

As per a Baltimore City Fire Department spokesperson, there could have been up to 20 individuals in the river, along with "numerous vehicles, and possibly a tractor-trailer or a vehicle as large as a tractor-trailer, (that) went into the river."

Live footage shared on YouTube captured the vessel ramming into the bridge in the darkness. Headlights from vehicles were visible on the bridge as it collapsed into the water, while the vessel erupted into flames.

Maryland's governor has declared a state of emergency in response to the incident.

The vessel involved has been identified through ship tracking data from LSEG as the container ship Dali flying the flag of Singapore. The registered owner of the vessel is Grace Ocean Pte Ltd, with Synergy Marine Group serving as the operator. Synergy Marine Corp has stated that the Dali collided with one of the bridge supports.

At the time of the incident, the vessel Dali was chartered by the shipping company Maersk.

Port of Baltimore

According to the Maryland Port Administration, Baltimore is the busiest port in the United States for exporting automobiles. In 2023, private and public terminals at the Port of Baltimore handled 847,158 automobiles and light trucks, more than any other port in the United States. According to the Maryland government's website, the port also handles agricultural and construction equipment, sugar, gypsum, and coal.

The port serves as a major hub for the import and export activities of leading automakers, including Nissan, Toyota, General Motors, Volvo, Jaguar Land Rover, and the Volkswagen Group, including luxury models from Audi, Lamborghini, and Bentley.

According to the vessel tracking and maritime analytics service provider MarineTraffic, there are over 40 vessels remaining in the Port of Baltimore, including small cargo ships, tug boats, and pleasure craft. Data indicates that at least 30 other vessels have reported Baltimore as their destination.

The bridge, named after Francis Scott Key, the author of the US national anthem, was opened in 1977.

In February, a Bombardier Challenger 600 passenger plane made an emergency landing on a highway near Florida due to a malfunction and subsequently caught fire.