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Baltimore bridge collapses after ship slams onto it —updated



Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore collapsed after a ship crashed on it

The Francis Scott Key Bridge, also known as the Key Bridge or Beltway Bridge, in Baltimore, United States, has collapsed in the early hours of Tuesday, March 26, 2024.

The bridge crumbled and collapsed after a large cargo vessel crashed into it leaving several people dead or missing.

It served as the link between Baltimore in Maryland and the adjourning environs until its collapse.

About Baltimore

Baltimore, also known as Charm City, is situated in north-central Maryland along the Patapsco River, close to where it flows into the Chesapeake Bay.

Specifically, it lies approximately 40 miles (64 kilometers) northeast of Washington, D.C.

As the most populous city in Maryland, Baltimore holds a vibrant history and serves as an economic hub within the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area.

About Francis Scott Key Bridge

The Francis Scott Key Bridge was opened on March 23, 1977, in honor of Francis Scott Key, a 19th-century Maryland poet.

Mr. Key, it was, who wrote the words for the US national anthem, the Star-Spangled Banner.

The bridge was 8,636 feet (2,632 meters) long and spanned the Patapsco River and Baltimore harbor.

Its main span of 1,200 feet was the third longest of any continuous truss in the world.

The Bridge was a significant structure in design and dimensions, being 2nd-longest bridge in Baltimore metropolis.

It was a steel arch-shaped continuous through truss bridge that spanned the lower Patapsco River and outer Baltimore Harbor.

The bridge had a clearance height of 185 feet above the water with four lanes of part of the Baltimore Beltway.

The Key Bridge was originally known as the Outer Harbor Crossing until it was renamed in 1976 while still under construction.

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History and Significance

The Key Bridge opened in 1977, marking the completion of a two-decade-long project to link the final sections of Interstate 695 (the Baltimore Beltway).

Approximately 11.5 million vehicles crossed the Key Bridge annually, a testimony to its economic expediency.

It served as a designated hazardous materials (HAZMATs) truck route.

HAZMATs were prohibited in the nearby Baltimore Harbor and Fort McHenry tunnels.

The collapse

Tragically, a portion of the Bridge collapsed just seconds after being struck by a cargo ship.

The collapse has been a significant event, as the Key Bridge played a vital role in Baltimore’s transportation network.

Diaspora Digital Media (DBM) learnt that it connected communities and facilitated travel across the harbor.

Its collapse evidently marks the end of an era for this iconic structure.

Where was the Ship headed to?

The Singapore-flagged container ship, Dali, was originally built for Greek shipowner Oceanbulk by South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries.

It is currently operated by the charter vessel company Synergy Group but temporarily leased by container shipping giant Maersk.

The ship set off from Baltimore’s Seagirt Marine Terminal en route to Colombo, Sri Lanka.

A video footage from the incident appears to show the bridge collapsing instantaneously after the container ship hit one of the piers supporting it.

Are there survivors of the accident?

Several people were on the bridge at the time, including contractors doing repairs to the bridge.

A construction crew of eight persons were working on the bridge fixing potholes during the incident.

They reportedly fell into the Patapsco River below but two people have since been rescued.

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Others have, meanwhile, been declared missing after the collapse.

In the meantime, a massive search and rescue effort is underway for the construction workers.

The workers were working on the bridge in Baltimore when it was struck by the ship.

The vessel collapsed into the Patapsco River, cutting off traffic linking from surrounding neighbourhood.

Besides the construction workers, several vehicles were also believed to be on the bridge during the accident.

There are palpable fears that the vehicles may have gone under with the bridge.

A major search and rescue operation is underway, with divers looking for victims in the icy waters of the harbor and the river.

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