Breaking News: Baltimore Key Bridge Collapse

The Collapse of Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge

In a shocking turn of events, a portion of Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed early Tuesday morning after being struck by a large container ship. The impact sent several vehicles and individuals plummeting into the frigid waters of the Patapsco River below, sparking a frantic rescue effort and casting a shadow of uncertainty over the city.

The incident occurred around 1:30 a.m. when a cargo vessel collided with one of the bridge's supports, causing it to snap and buckle. The force of the collision shattered the roadway above, sending cars and people tumbling into the river below. Amidst the chaos, the vessel itself caught fire, engulfing the scene in billowing clouds of black smoke that pierced the night sky.

Rescue efforts were swift but fraught with challenges. Baltimore Fire Chief James Wallace confirmed that two individuals had been rescued from the water, but the fate of several others remained uncertain. Sonar readings indicated the presence of multiple vehicles submerged in the frigid waters, where temperatures hovered around 47 degrees Fahrenheit.

The vessel responsible for the collision, identified as the Dali and flying under a Singapore flag, was en route from Baltimore to Colombo, Sri Lanka. Measuring nearly 985 feet long and 157 feet wide, the sheer magnitude of the ship underscored the gravity of the situation.

As emergency crews scrambled to the scene, the Maryland Department of Transportation Secretary, Paul J. Wiedefeld, announced the suspension of vessel traffic into and out of the Port of Baltimore. Meanwhile, ground traffic was being rerouted as all lanes of the bridge were closed in the aftermath of the collapse.

The severity of the situation prompted Maryland Governor Wes Moore to declare a State of Emergency, mobilizing federal resources to aid in the rescue and recovery efforts. With the city reeling from the unprecedented disaster, the coming hours would undoubtedly test the resilience and resolve of Baltimore's emergency response teams and the community at large.

Our hearts go out to those affected by this devastating incident, and we stand in solidarity with the city of Baltimore during this difficult time.

History of the Francis Scott Key Bridge

The Francis Scott Key Bridge, originally known as the Outer Harbor Crossing, stands as a historic landmark in Baltimore, Maryland, spanning the lower Patapsco River and outer Baltimore Harbor. Renamed in 1976 during its construction, the bridge is also fondly referred to as simply the Key Bridge or Beltway Bridge. Its main span, stretching 1,200 feet, was once the third longest continuous truss span in the world, contributing to its iconic status in the region. Completed on March 23, 1977, the bridge was named in honor of Francis Scott Key, author of the American national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner," commemorating his role in the historic Battle of Baltimore in 1814. Serving as a critical transportation link, the Key Bridge forms part of Maryland Route 695, marking the completion of the Interstate 695 beltway project after two decades of development. Throughout its history, the Key Bridge has been essential for facilitating commerce and commuter traffic, symbolizing the resilience and connectivity of Baltimore. However, tragedy struck on March 26, 2024, when the bridge suffered partial destruction due to a collision with the container ship Dali, resulting in a complete failure of its center span. Despite the challenges faced, the Key Bridge remains a testament to Maryland's engineering prowess and enduring spirit.

Moving Forward Together

In the wake of such a monumental disaster, the community's focus turns towards healing and rebuilding. The collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge not only disrupted part of our nation's infrastructure but also deeply affected the lives of many. As investigations continue and recovery efforts proceed, the spirit of Baltimore remains unbroken. This tragic event serves as a stark reminder of the importance of rigorous safety standards and the resilience of human spirit in the face of adversity. Together, with unwavering solidarity and determination, Baltimore will emerge stronger, ensuring the legacy of the Francis Scott Key Bridge as a symbol of unity and strength endures for generations to come.

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