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Cargo ship rams into major Baltimore bridge, causing total collapse

The incident crippled a major port and left at least a few people swimming for their lives.

Early Tuesday morning, a Singapore-flagged container ship called the Dali rammed into one of the piers holding up Francis Scott Key Bridge, a steel arch-shaped truss bridge extending Interstate 695 some 1,200 feet over the Baltimore Harbor. Upon impact, the bridge came toppling down — along with those vehicles on the compromised segments.

Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman indicated the bridge has “totally collapsed” and that rescue teams are on site.

So far, there have been no reports of casualties.

Baltimore Fire Chief James Wallace indicated that two people were pulled from the waters, one of whom was in serious condition, reported the Associated Press.

Wallace noted that authorities “may be looking for upwards of seven people.”

The fire department reportedly employed sonar to detect vehicles that plunged into the depths.

A livestream captured the precise moment the 984-foot vessel crashed into the bridge, timestamped at 1:28 a.m.. The ship can be seen smashing into one of the piers on its way out of the port, triggering a chain reaction.

Minutes earlier, the lights aboard the ship appear to flicker, suggestive of a possible electronic malfunction.

The 9-year-old ship was on its way to Colombo, Sri Lanka, according to VesselFinder.

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore (D) declared a state of emergency and indicated the state is working with an inter-agency team to deploy federal resources.

Kevin Cartwright, director of communications for the Baltimore Fire Department, called the incident a “dire emergency” and expressed concerns earlier in the morning that the collapse may amount to a “developing mass casualty event.”

The remains of both the collapsed bridge and the ship’s cargo may hinder traffic into and out of the port, the second-busiest port in the mid-Atlantic. This could prove greatly consequential for trade and commerce.

Synergy Marine Group, the outfit that owns and manages the vessel, reportedly confirmed that the ship collided with the bridge while in control of two pilots. The crew suffered no fatalities or injuries.

Baltimore Police Commissioner Richard Worley indicated there is “absolutely no indication” that the Dali rammed into the bridge intentionally.

An unclassified Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency report noted that the Dali “lost propulsion” while leaving port and that the pilots alerted officials to their loss of control, reported ABC News.

The Maryland Transportation Authority noted that alternate routes across the harbor are the I-95 or I-895 tunnels. Vehicles transporting hazardous materials are barred from using the tunnels and must use the western section of I-695 around the tunnels, according to the MDTA.

Brandon Scott, Baltimore’s Democratic mayor, said, “This is a tragedy that you can never imagine,” adding that the collapse “looked like something out of an action movie.”

-The Blaze

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