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Tugs assisting tanker near Baltimore's Key Bridge

The Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Md. collapsed early Tuesday morning (March 26) after a cargo ship hit a support column. Several videos of the collapse made their way onto social media channels and rescuers were reportedly searching for nearly two dozen survivors.

Local outlet The Baltimore Sun reports that a container ship traveling in the area struck one of the Francis Scott Key Bridge’s support columns which snapped the bridge in pieces and plunged around seven cars into the Patapsco River. Maryland Gov. Wes Moore has declared a state of emergency.

The ship, known as Dali, struck the bridge around 1:20 AM local time and a search and rescue operation went underway immediately. Authorities say they were looking for at least seven missing individuals.

While a cause for the accident has yet to be determined or confirmed, U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin told the outlet that the cargo ship may have lost power thus cutting off its steering capabilities.

“What’s been indicated is the vessel lost power, and when you lose power you lose steering,” Sen. Cardin said. “But they’re doing a full investigation.”

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is slated to investigate the accident according to U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, who also echoed Sen. Cardin’s suggestion that the ship lost power.

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott spoke at a news conference regarding the tragedy, saying, “This is a tragedy that you could never imagine…It looked like something out of an action movie.”

Traffic in the region has been rerouted and the outlet adds that the 1.6-mile steel bridge is a main portion of Interstate 695 and one of Baltimore’s three toll crossings. The bridge carried over 12.4 million commercial and passenger vehicles last year signaling that it is a major thoroughfare.

As updates come in, we will update this report.

Photo: CharlieFloyd / Getty

Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge Collapses After Cargo Ship Hit Column  was originally published on