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Baltimore Key Bridge collapse live updates: At least 6 unaccounted for, no evidence of terrorism

todayMarch 26, 2024

Background

Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

(BALTIMORE) — A cargo ship crashed into Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge early Tuesday morning, causing a near-total collapse of the span and halting vessel traffic into and out of the Port of Baltimore.

A search-and-rescue effort is underway, with divers and emergency personnel desperately combing the Patapsco River for people believed to have fallen from the collapsing bridge into the frigid water below, officials said. At least six people are unaccounted for, officials said.

Mar 26, 3:00 PM
What to know about the collapse

The container ship Dali struck Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge at about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, partially collapsing the bridge, officials in Maryland said.

A local pilot was at the helm of the ship at the time, Maryland Department of Transportation Secretary Paul Wiedefeld said.

The crash appeared to be accidental, not intentional, officials said.

Two people were rescued from the Patapsco River and at least six people remain missing, officials said.

Mar 26, 2:28 PM
Buttigieg meets with responders

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg traveled to the scene of the Baltimore bridge collapse, at the invitation of Maryland Gov. Wes Moore, according to the Department of Transportation.

Buttigieg posted a photo of him meeting with responders.

An estimated 30,000 vehicles crossed the bridge per day, according to the Maryland Transportation Authority.

Mar 26, 1:38 PM
Personnel on ship alerted officials before collision ‘which undoubtedly saved lives’: Biden

Personnel on the ship alerted the Maryland Department of Transportation that they lost control of the vessel, and officials were able to close the bridge before it was struck, “which undoubtedly saved lives,” President Joe Biden told reporters.

It appears the crash was a “terrible accident,” Biden said.

He said the search and rescue operation is the top priority.

“Ship traffic and the Port of Baltimore has been suspended until further notice. And we’ll need to clear that channel before the ship traffic can resume,” he said.

“It’s my intention that the federal government will pay for the entire cost of reconstruction. … I expect the Congress to support my effort,” Biden said.

“This is going to take some time,” the president said, adding, “We’re not leaving until this job gets done.”

Biden, who noted he’s been over the bridge many times, said he plans to visit Baltimore as soon as possible.

“Our prayers are with everyone involved in this terrible accident and all the families, especially those waiting for news of their loved one right now,” the president said. “To the people of Baltimore, I want to say: We’re with you. We’re going to stay with you, as long as it takes.”

Mar 26, 12:34 PM
No cars transiting bridge at time of collapse: Internal DHS briefing

Maryland transportation officials reviewed traffic cameras and confirmed there were “no vehicles transiting the bridge at the time of the incident,” according to the latest internal Department of Homeland Security briefing obtained by ABC News.

The local pilot who was at the controls is “undergoing post-accident Drug and Alcohol Testing,” the briefing said.

The cargo ship “remains impaled in the bridge,” the document said. “Several shipping containers with unknown cargo fell into water. There is hull damage above the water line to the vessel and the ship is maintaining watertight integrity.”

A slight sheen of pollution was observed in the water, suggesting there could be some oil or other pollutant “in the vicinity of the ship and pollution booms have been requested,” the memo said.

-ABC News’ Josh Margolin and Aaron Katersky

Mar 26, 11:00 AM
6 unaccounted for

Six people remain unaccounted for as the desperate search continues at the site of the bridge collapse, Coast Guard officials said at a Tuesday morning news conference.

Two were rescued, including one who was hospitalized and later discharged, officials said. Construction workers were on the bridge working on potholes at the time of the collapse, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore said.

“To hear the words that the Key Bridge has collapsed, it’s shocking and heartbreaking,” Moore said. “It’s not just unprecedented, what we’re seeing today — it’s heartbreaking.”

The collapse appears to be an accident, Moore said.

There’s nothing to suggest ties to terrorism, the FBI added.

The container ship was moving at 8 knots, which is considered fast, officials noted.

A local pilot was at the helm of the ship at the time, Maryland Department of Transportation Secretary Paul Wiedefeld said.

A harbor pilot and assistant onboard the cargo ship reported power issues, multiple alarms on the bridge and loss of propulsion prior to the incident, according to a Coast Guard memo obtained by ABC News. All personnel on the tanker are accounted for with no reported injuries, the memo said.

The Patapsco River channel is fully blocked, with approximately five inbound and seven outbound vessels in the queue for the next 24 hours, according to the memo.

The bridge was up to code, officials said.

Mar 26, 10:46 AM
What to know about the cargo ship

The Singapore-flagged cargo ship, Dali, spans a length of 984 feet and a width of 157 feet, a listing showed. It holds 22 crew members, all of whom are based in India.

The ship departed from the Port of Baltimore at 1 a.m. on Tuesday, embarking on a 27-day journey to Colombo, Sri Lanka. The ship “lost propulsion” as it was leaving the port and warned Maryland officials of a possible collision, according to officials.

The waterway into and out of the port is closed and there is no other route into the port, which is the second busiest port in the Mid-Atlantic.

Mar 26, 9:47 AM
Governor declares state of emergency

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore has declared a state of emergency following the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore.

“We are working with an interagency team to quickly deploy federal resources from the Biden Administration,” Moore said in a statement.

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott also declared a local state of emergency.

Mar 26, 9:28 AM
The history of Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge

The 1.6-mile bridge on the I-695 beltway crosses the Patapsco River, where Francis Scott Key was inspired to write the words of the U.S. national anthem in 1814, according to the Maryland Transportation Authority.

Key, after whom the bridge was named, was also an advisor to Andrew Jackson, served as the District Attorney for the District of Columbia from 1833 to 1841, and was a slave owner, according to the National Park Service.

Construction on the bridge, which was intended to ease traffic and maintenance concerns regarding the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel that serviced the waterway, began in 1972 and finished in March 1977, according to the MDTA.

Mar 26, 8:36 AM
1 person hospitalized in very serious condition

Two people have been rescued from the water and crews are still searching for others, fire officials said.

One person rescued has been taken to a hospital in very serious condition, Baltimore Fire Department Chief James Wallace said.

The second rescued person denied medical treatment.

Mar 26, 8:30 AM
‘No indications this was an intentional act,’ Mayorkas says

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said “there are no indications this was an intentional act,” adding, “we are assessing the impacts to the Port of Baltimore.”

“Our thoughts are with the families of the missing and injured,” he said.

The Coast Guard is “actively involved in search and rescue operations,” he said.

Mar 26, 8:09 AM
Biden briefed on collapse

President Joe Biden has been briefed on the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge and the ongoing search and rescue efforts, according to a White House official. He will continue to receive updates from his team throughout the day, the official said.

Senior White House officials have been in touch with the Maryland governor and Baltimore mayor to offer any federal assistance they need, the administration said.

-ABC News’ Selina Wang and Molly Nagle

Mar 26, 7:32 AM
Ship lost propulsion, warned of collision, CISA report says

An unclassified Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency report said the container ship Dali “lost propulsion” as it was leaving port and warned Maryland officials of a possible collision.

The crew notified officials that they had lost control, the report said.

“The vessel notified MD Department of Transportation (MDOT) that they had lost control of the vessel and an allision with the bridge was possible,” the report said. “The vessel struck the bridge causing a complete collapse.”

The waterway into and out of the port has been closed and there is no other route into the port, which is the second busiest port in the mid-Atlantic.

-ABC News’ Sam Sweeney, Aaron Katersky and Kevin Shalvey

Mar 26, 7:15 AM
Cargo ship company says all crew members safe

The owners and managers of the cargo ship Dali, a Singapore-flagged vessel, said all crew members had been accounted for following the crash.

“All crew members, including the two pilots have been accounted for and there are no reports of any injuries,” Synergy Marine Group said in a statement.

The company said the 22 crew members, including the pilots, were based in India.

The 984-foot ship is owned by Grace Ocean Private Ltd, the statement said.

The cause of the crash is “yet to be determined,” the statement said.

-ABC News’ Jenny Wagnon Courts, Laura Romero and Kevin Shalvey

Mar 26, 6:05 AM
Secretary Buttigieg offers DOT support

Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg said in a statement that he’s spoken with local officials to offer support.

“I’ve spoken with Gov. Moore and Mayor Scott to offer USDOT’s support following the vessel strike and collapse of the Francis Scott Key bridge,” he said. “Rescue efforts remain underway and drivers in the Baltimore area should follow local responder guidance on detours and response.”

-ABC News Molly Nagle

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