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Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge collapses after ship collision

Several vehicles fell into the Patapsco River after the landslide. Authorities are searching for victims in the water.

El puente Francis Scott Key de Baltimore


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Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge partially collapsed and was closed to traffic after what Maryland authorities called an "incident" early Tuesday. The bridge, part of Interstate 695, crosses the Patapsco River in Baltimore Harbor.

"I can confirm at 1:35 a.m., Baltimore City police were notified of a partial bridge collapse, with workers possibly in the water, at the Francis Scott Key Bridge," the Baltimore Police Department said in a statement. Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski, Jr. said his prayers are with all those impacted.

"All lanes closed both directions for incident on I-695 Key Bridge," the Maryland Transportation Authority said in a statement at about 2 a.m. on Tuesday. "Traffic is being detoured."

Shipping monitoring site MarineTraffic indicated that a Singapore-flagged container ship (called Dali) stopped under the bridge in the early hours of Tuesday morning. It would be the cause of the incident. According to firefighters, there would be about 20 people in the water after the bridge collapsed. Later, Baltimore fire emergency chief James Wallace says two people saved from water after Key Bridge collapse, one without injury and the other who has been transferred to hospital in a serious condition.

Trayectoria del barco Dali que chocó contra un puente en Baltimore

Infografía trayectoria del barco Dali

Authorities are continuing their search for upwards of seven individuals, Wallace said.

For his part, Maryland Governor Wes Moore declared a state of emergency in the wake of the accident.

No sign of terrorism, maritime traffic suspended

Hours after the collapse, authorities announced that maritime traffic in Baltimore is "suspended until further notice." For its part, the police see no indication that the collapse of the bridge was due to an act of terrorism.

"there is absolutely no indication of terrorism, or that this was done on purpose," said Baltimore Police Commissioner Richard Worley.

Additionally, the Federal Aviation Administration restricted aircraft from flying over the wreckage of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore.

An electrical glitch and a warning that saved lives

The container ship that crashed into the Baltimore Bridge had an electrical problem, Maryland state Governor Wes Moore revealed.

Governor Moore also explained that the ship launched a distress call that stopped traffic and saved lives. The vessel, which was moving at a speed of eight knots (about 10 miles per hour), alerted authorities that it was losing power, which allowed cars heading for the Francis Scott Key Bridge to be stopped. “Those people are heroes. They saved lives last night,” the governor said.