The Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore collapsed early Tuesday after a column was hit by a large container ship, resulting in vehicles and individuals being thrown into the Patapsco River, authorities confirmed.

Baltimore City Fire Chief James Wallace informed reporters that the situation was classified as “an active search and rescue operation.” The Coast Guard was engaged in the efforts, with Wallace indicating that up to seven individuals might be missing. Search operations were being conducted both in the water and on the ship’s deck, aided by sonar detecting vehicles submerged in the river.

Wallace reported that at least two people had been rescued from the water. One individual emerged unharmed, while another was in “very serious” condition and was receiving treatment at the University of Maryland Medical Center. However, the injured person had not yet been able to provide details to investigators.

Maryland Governor Wes Moore declared a state of emergency, coordinating with federal resources to expedite rescue efforts. Expressing gratitude for the responders’ bravery, Moore urged for prayers for the safety of all involved.

The collapse occurred after a vessel, the 948-foot Singapore-flagged cargo ship Dali, struck the bridge. The ship, reportedly en route from Baltimore to Colombo, Sri Lanka, lost power before the collision. Despite the impact, all crew members were safely accounted for, and no injuries were reported among them.

Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott characterized the incident as “an unthinkable tragedy,” emphasizing the need for support for affected families and first responders. Rescue operations were ongoing, with Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. urging prayers for those impacted.

The collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, which spans the Patapsco River, has disrupted a vital transportation artery, affecting approximately 31,000 daily commuters. Named after the writer of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the bridge has served as a crucial link in East Coast shipping since its opening in 1977.

With all lanes closed in both directions on I-695 Key Bridge, traffic has been diverted to alternative routes. U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg pledged support for the ongoing rescue efforts, advising Baltimore area drivers to follow local guidance on detours and response protocols.

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