'Mass casualties' feared as Baltimore bridge collapses after being struck by ship

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | March 26, 2024 IST

Baltimore bridge

New Delhi, March 26: In a tragic incident, parts of a bridge in the US state of Maryland collapsed early on Tuesday morning, after being hit by a container ship, sending several vehicles into the water as quoted by media reports.

Mass fatalities are reportedly feared in the incident that occurred at nearly 1.30 a.m. (US local time), with the Baltimore Fire Department saying it was searching for at least seven people believed to be in the water, CNN reported.

CNN reported that response teams are working to rescue around 20 people who may have fallen into the river when the four-lane Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed in what the Fire Department described as "a mass casualty multi-agency incident".

The 1.6-mile bridge, which opened in 1977, serves as the outermost crossing of the Baltimore harbor and an essential link of Interstate-695, or the Baltimore Beltway.

"All lanes closed both directions for incident on I-695 Key Bridge. Traffic is being detoured," (sic), the Maryland Transportation Authority posted on X.

According to data from a maritime monitoring site and a Coast Guard officer, the ship that hit Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge was a Singaporean-flagged container ship, the DALI.

The ship is around 300 metre (984 feet) long with a width of around 48 metre (157 feet), CNN reported, citing MarineTraffic data.

The report added that the crash sent large plumes of smoke and fire into the air and video footage obtained by the channel showed the boat heading toward one of the bridge's support columns before colliding with it.

Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott said on X on Tuesday that he is "aware of and en route to the incident at the Key Bridge, adding that "emergency personnel are on scene, and efforts are underway".

The Baltimore Fire Department told CNN that investigators will also assess the condition of the bridge before its collapse.

 (IANS) 

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