Emergency crews are still searching for at least six victims in the Patapsco River after a cargo ship struck the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, causing it to collapse. 

The ship’s collision into one of the supports sent the bridge plummeting into the water below within seconds, along with members of a construction crew who were filling potholes at the time of the collapse. 

Baltimore police said they were notified of the bridge collapse at approximately 1:40 a.m. Tuesday. They received emergency calls of  “multiple people in the water. During an interview with Scripps News, Baltimore Fire Chief James Wallace said there were dive teams from multiple agencies with approximately 50 divers searching the river. 

Sonar technology was able to detect what officials believe to be three passenger vehicles and a cement truck in the water. A fifth vehicle was noted, but it is unclear what type it is at this time, Wallace said. 

However, during a 9:30 a.m. ET press conference, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore said officials were able to stop traffic on the bridge after receiving a mayday distress from the ship, so it’s unclear how many vehicles were on the bridge at the time of the collapse. 

Officials said recovering any people in the water remains a top priority, but conditions for rescuers are risky with debris hanging from the bridge and the water temperature at around 47 degrees. 

While the exact number of victims is still unknown, there were eight construction crew members who were reported missing after the collapse. 

Police said two of the crew members had been rescued as of 6:30 a.m. ET. One refused treatment and was unharmed. Another was in serious condition and transported to a local trauma center. 

“The Coast Guard’s primary mission right now is search and rescue looking for any survivors in the water.,” said Lt. Cmdr. Erin Palmer, Coast Guard Sector Maryland. “On scene, we currently have three small boats. We also have Coast Guard cutter Mako, an 87-foot patrol boat. We have a helicopter from Air Station Atlantic City and we’re working with numerous federal, state and local partners on scene on these search and rescue efforts.”

“This is a place that is a normal commute route for over 30,000 Marylanders every single day. And so to hear the words that the key bridge has collapsed, it’s shocking and heartbreaking,” said Moore during the late morning press conference. 

Bill DelBagno, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Baltimore Field Office, said there is no credible information that the bridge collapse is tied to terrorism. 

Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul Wiedefeld said all vessel traffic into and out of the port would be suspended until further notice, though the facility was still open to trucks.

Moore and Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott said they are in close communication with other officials, including Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who told officials he would work to release emergency funds as soon as possible to help with the catastrophe. 

Ive spoken with Gov. Moore and Mayor Scott to offer USDOTs support following the vessel strike and collapse of the Francis Scott Key bridge. Rescue efforts remain underway and drivers in the Baltimore area should follow local responder guidance on detours and response, Buttigieg posted on X. 

According to Marine Traffic, the cargo vessel that struck the bridge was called the Dali, sailing under a Singapore flag. It was headed from Baltimore to Sri Lanka and was chartered by shipping giant Maersk and operated by the company Synergy Group. 

“We are horrified by what has happened in Baltimore, and our thoughts are with all of those affected,” said a spokesperson for Maersk in a statement. There were no Maersk crew members or personnel onboard the vessel, the spokesperson said. 

Officials said the container ship, which is about 984 feet long and 157 feet wide, lost power before hitting the bridge. The 1.6-mile long bridge spans the Patapsco River as part of Interstate 695, which is part of the beltway that surrounds downtown Baltimore and connects to major routes like Interstate 95. 

During a press conference at the White House Tuesday afternoon, President Joe Biden said his intentions are for the federal government to cover all the costs to replace the bridge. 

The Army Corps of Engineers is at the scene of the collapse to help clear the channel as soon as possible so that the Port of Baltimore can reopen its operations.  

President Biden noted the port, where the ship was departing from, is one of the busiest shipping hubs in the U.S. and handled a record amount of cargo last year. 

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