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Bridge collapse in Baltimore: Rescuers search water after ship collision

A major bridge in Baltimore, Maryland, partially collapsed Tuesday morning after it was hit by a container ship, possibly leaving a number of people in the river below, authorities said.

A spokesperson for the Baltimore Police Department told NBC News that they were responding to the incident at the Francis Scott Key Bridge, an enormous steel structure which carries Interstate 695 over the Patapsco River southeast of the Baltimore metropolitan area.

“I can confirm that 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,” said Detective Niki Fennoy in a statement.

The U.S. Coast Guard told NBC News it received a report at 1:27 a.m. ET that a “motor vessel made impact with the bridge” and confirmed it was a 948-foot vessel named DALI, a container ship sailing under a Singaporean flag.

“USCG has deployed three response boats, and pollution responders are en route,” said a spokesman, Petty Officer First Class Matthew West.

The Maryland Transportation Authority confirmed that the I-695 was shut down because of the Key Bridge collapsing due to a “ship strike.”

Images posted to social media early Tuesday show the mangled wreck of the bridge rising out of the river in the dawn twilight. A video showed a stationary ship with its lights still on, against the dark silhouette of the ruined steel structure. A livestream shot of the collision shows the ship slowly moving into the bridge’s support as cars and trucks travel on the road above.

The bridge, built in 1977 and locally referred to as the Key Bridge, was later named after the author of the American national anthem.

The bridge is over 8,500 feet, or 1.2 miles, long in total. Its main section spans 1,200 feet and was one of the longest continuous truss bridges in the world upon its completion, according to the National Steel Bridge Alliance.


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