Multiple people are still missing after the Baltimore Key Bridge collapse. Here’s everything we know

Rescuers are in a race against time as they desperately search for six unaccounted for invidivduals who are feared to be in the water after a container ship collided with Baltimore’s Key Bridge, causing a “catastrophic collapse” while vehicles were still on the structure.

Two people have so far been pulled from the river. One was transported to a trauma unit and is in a serious condition, while the other had not reportedly suffered any injuries.

Another body was reportedly pulled from the Patapsco River, a city official told CNN.

However, six others are still missing and sonar technology has detected that at least seven vehicles were also thrown off the bridge and submerged in the water.

Officials say that rescue teams are working in harsh temperatures to try and find the missing people in the Patapsco River in an area 50-foot deep.

The Dali container ship is thought to have “lost propulsion” as it left Baltimore port, with the crew warning Maryland officials they had lost control of the almost 300-metre-long vessel and that a collision was possible, ABC News reported. The governor noted that this warning call saved lives.

The situation has been described as a “developing mass casualty incident,” and the governor of Maryland has declared a state of emergency as multiple agencies waded through cold waters in the darkness of the early hours, searching amid debris for those missing in the aftermath of the horrific collapse.

Here’s what we know about the Baltimore bridge collapse:

The collision

At around 1.30am ET local time, the Singapore-flagged vessel Dali struck a column on the Francis Scott Key Bridge, leading multiple parts of the 1.6 mile-long bridge to tumble into the water.

Just moments before the collision, the ship’s crew issued a mayday call. Maryland Gov Wes Moore added that the call saved lives, giving time for authorities to stop cars from continuing on the bridge.

The crew warned the Maryland Department of Transportation that an “allision with the bridge was possible,” the report said. “The vessel struck the bridge causing a complete collapse.”

It’s still unclear what caused the accident. But the ship was just 30 minutes after setting sail on its 27-day journey to Sri Lanka.

A number of vehicles and possibly pedestrians were on the bridge at the time of the collision. There may also have been workers carrying out concrete deck repair on the bridge at the time.

Transportation authorities say the water under the bridge is around 50 feet deep.

At least seven people are still missing as the search continues


Kevin Cartwright, director of communications for the Baltimore Fire Department, told The Associated Press that it appeared there are “some cargo or retainers hanging from the bridge”, creating unsafe and unstable conditions, and that emergency responders were having to operate cautiously.

As the investigation continues, officials say that there is “no indication of terrorism” involved in the incident, and that the FBI and other state and federal agencies are working to get information.

Chief James Wallace, of the Baltimore City Fire Department, said there was no indication the crash was intentional.

People feared to be in the water

Eight were believed to be in the water after the container ship collided with the bridge — six of whom are still missing — although authorities said that number could change as the rescue efforts continue.

City Council Member Phylicia Porter told CNN that one body had been found in the Patapsco River. This discovery has not been confirmed by authorities.

Officials have confirmed that they have rescued two people from the water. One has been taken to a trauma unit and is in serious condition, while the other was uninjured.

Upwards of seven people are still being searched for across a “very large incident and large footprint” after the container ship collided with the Francis Scott Key Bridge, Chief Wallace said at a press conference.

It is not clear how many vehicles are currently in the water, but at least seven are thought to have gone in. Chief Wallace told CNN that authorities so far have located three passenger vehicles, a cement truck and another vehicle submerged in the water using infrared and side-scan sonar technology.

“We are still very much in an active search and rescue posture at this point and we will continue to be for some time,” Chief James Wallace said at the press conference.

The collapse has been described as ‘catastrophic’


“We have a large area that we have to search. This includes on the surface of the water, subsurface, as well as on the deck of the ship itself.”

Kevin Cartwright, director of communications for the fire department, said the city is dealing with a “developing mass casualty incident”.

A multi-agency rescue is currently under way to try and find the missing people, with dive team members going into the river to try and locate them.

The Coast Guard has also deployed small boats and helicopters to help in the search.

However, the cold temperatures around the harbour are posing difficulties as the rescue teams continue.

‘An unthinkable tragedy’

The Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse is an “unthinkable tragedy,” Baltimore city mayor Brandon Scott said.

“We have to be thinking about the families and people impacted, folks who we have to try to find. This is what our focus should be on right now, we’re going to continue to work in partnership with every part of government to do everything we can to get us through the other side of this tragedy,” he said.

Multiple agencies have been involved in the search for the people still believed to be missing in the water.

It is unclear what caused the collapse

(Sky News)

US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg said on X that he has spoken with Mayor Scott and Maryland Governor Wes Moore to offer the Department of Transportation’s support.

Mr Buttigieg said at a press conference that Tuesday is “an excruciating day for several families” who are waiting to hear news about their loved ones who may have been on the bridge during the collision. He added, “We should also recognize that this is an excruciating day for several families who went to bed last night having it be a normal night and woke up today to news that no one wants to receive.”

Not long after, a state of emergency was declared by Governor Moore early on Tuesday morning. The White House has also said it is “closely monitoring” the situation calling it a “horrific incident.”

“Senior White House officials are in touch with the governor and mayor to offer any federal assistance they need. There is no indication of any nefarious intent,” a statement said.

As for other water and road traffic, officials have put transportation at a standstill while they continue to assess the situation.

Maryland’s Transportation Authority called the incident a “major traffic alert” and redirected cars to the I-95 or I-895 highways.

Large trucks are also prohibited from using the 1-95 tunnel route that goes under the Baltimore Harbor.

Along with this, at least 10 commercial ships headed to Baltimore port have dropped their anchors in waters nearby, Reuters said citing ship tracking data.

How did the crash occur?

The Maryland Transportation Authority said that it is too early in the investigation to understand the full picture of what caused the collapse.

“It’s what we call a continuous structure every little piece is connected to another – and unfortunately it’s a catastrophic collapse,” they said.

Reports suggest that the Dali had “lost propulsion” as it left the port embarking on its journey, with crew notifying officials that they had lost control of the vessel, ABC reported, citing an unclassified intelligence report.

“The vessel notified MD Department of Transportation (MDOT) that they had lost control of the vessel and an collision with the bridge was possible,” ABC said, quoting the report by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

“The vessel struck the bridge causing a complete collapse.”

The 300-metre-long vessel was embarking on a journey to Sri Lanka and was only 30 minutes in when it collided with the Francis Scott Key Bridge

(Getty Images)

However, some have also questioned whether the structural integrity of the bridge itself was strong enough.

Julian Carter, a structural and civil engineering expert, earlier told Sky News that the structures of the bridge were “very weak” at certain points.

Fire officials said earlier that they do not have any information as to whether there was a problem with the 300-metre-long ship, and have not spoken to the pilot of the vessel yet.

Chief Wallace added that he could not confirm if there had been a fuel leakage from the cargo ship.

“We hope as the sun comes up, we will get a much better picture if we do have a fuel spill and what the impact has been so far,” he said.

The container vessel Dali

All members of the crew are said to be accounted for after the crash, but police say that the crew were still on board early in the morning.

There were 22 members on board at the time the vessel crashed, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore said.

No injuries have been reported from the container ship.

Synergy Marine Group confirmed that their Singapore-flagged container ship Dali had collided with the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore.

Reports claim that the crew ‘lost propulsion’ of the Dali after it left the Baltimore Port


“Whilst the exact cause of the incident is yet to be determined, the ‘Dali’ has now mobilised its Qualified Individual Incident response service,” the group said.

The boat’s length overall (LOA) is 299.92 metres and width is 48.2 metres.

The Dali had just set sail and had only travelled just over four miles from the Seagirt Marine Terminal in the Port of Baltimore before it collided into the west side of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, according to VesselFinder.

It was about to embark on a 27-day journey to Colombo, Sri Lanka, which is roughly 10,220 miles, although it only managed to complete a fraction of its journey – about 30 minutes – before it crashed.

It was scheduled to sail on shipping company Maersk’s route to Sri Lanka, the Danish company’s website showed.

The Dali had reportedly been involved in another “incident” back in 2016, port authorities told CNN.

The same ship that struck the Francis Scott Key Bridge was also involved in an incident at the Port of Antwerp in Belgium, the outlet reported.

According to Vessel Finder, the Dali reportedly collided with the side of the stone wall quay as it was leaving the port, and consequently damaged the stern and transom of the vessel.

The incident was reportedly blamed on a mistake by the ship’s master and pilot onboard and there were no injuries.

The Francis Scott Key Bridge

Before the Francis Scott Key Bridge catastrophically plummeted into the Patapsco River, the structure had stood for 47 years in its completion as the final link in the I-695 (the Baltimore Beltway).

The bridge got its name from Francis Scott Key, the man who penned the US national anthem The Star-Spangled Banner, who also happens to be a distant cousin and the namesake of the writer F Scott Fitzgerald.

The Maryland native was thought to be close to where the bridge was eventually erected when he witnessed the bombardment of Fort McHenry in 1814, inspiring him to write the words to the anthem, the Maryland Transportation Authority wrote on its website.

The Francis Scott Key Bridge was completed in 1977 and carried 11.3 million vehicles a year


It took five years to complete the bridge, between 1972 and 1977 and carried some 11.3 million vehicles a year before it fell into the river on Tuesday.

The four-lane steel bridge spanned 1.6 miles across the river and had 185 feet of vertical clearance.

The bridge leads up to the Port of Baltimore, which is the US’s busiest port for car shipments, according to data from the Maryland Port Administration, Reuters reports, as well as being the largest US port by volume for handling heavy farm and construction machinery.

Implications on global trade

In a speech on Tuesday afternoon, President Joe Biden vowed to use federal funds to rebuild the bridge and promised to “move heaven and earth” to reopen the bridge “as soon as humanly possible”, emphasising the critical role that the birdge and the port play for daily travel, trade and the economy.

Mr Biden said that more than 30,000 vehicles crosses every day. He called it “one of the most important elements” of the economy and quality of life in the Northeast corridor. Not to mention that 850,000 vehicles go through the port every year.

He added that 15,000 jobs depend on that port, on top of the “140,000 jobs linked to port activities”, Maryland’s governor noted last month.

Gov Moore also noted that last year the port handled a record 52.3 million tons of foreign cargo — worth more than $80bn in value. It ranked ninth in the nation’s ports in foreign cargo handled, and first for volume of autos and light trucks, the statement said.

The Port of Baltimore ranked as the 17th top US ports in 2023, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

As Mr Biden alluded, the port is a hub for travel. The governor wrote that over 444,000 individuals cruised out of the Port of Baltimore in 2023 alone.

The port has already taken a hit since the incident.

Maersk, which chartered the Dali vessel, said it would be “omitting Baltimore on all our services for the foreseeable future, until it is deemed safe for passage through this area,” in a Tuesday morning statement.

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