The Francis Scott Key bridge in Baltimore collapses after a ship crashed into it

a ship
The steel frame of the Francis Scott Key Bridge sits on top of the container ship Dali after the bridge collapsed in Baltimore on Tuesday. (Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)

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A part of a Baltimore bridge serving as both an essential highway artery and a hub for shipping along the East Coast collapsed early Tuesday morning after a container ship crashed into it, sending people into the water.

The collision has spurred a large search-and-rescue operation, and it was unclear how many people were in the Patapsco River. However, Kevin Cartwight, the Baltimore City Fire Department’s director of communications, told NPR that seven people had fallen into the river and were being searched for. He called the collision and collapse a “developing mass casualty event,” The Associated Press reported.

Emergency personnel have been dispatched to the scene, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott added.

The ship that collided with the bridge was the Dali, a 948-foot container ship, U.S. Coast Guard public information officer Matthew West told NPR. The Singapore-flagged ship left Baltimore at 1 a.m. and was heading to Colombo, Sri Lanka, according to MarineTraffic, a marine data platform.

Traffic was closed in both lanes as a result of the collision, the Maryland Transportation Authority posted on X.

The bridge is part of I-695, an arterial of Interstate 95, a major highway running north-south along the Eastern seaboard of the U.S.

The 1.6-mile long bridge, named for the writer of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” opened in 1977 and is located about 45 miles northeast of Washington, D.C.

This is a developing story.

NPR’s Dave Mistich contributed to this report.

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