Tragedy Strikes Baltimore: Ship Collision Leads to Bridge Collapse, Six Missing

Six individuals are currently unaccounted for and presumed deceased following a devastating incident in Baltimore, where a container ship collided with the iconic Francis Scott Key Bridge, resulting in its collapse.

The Coast Guard has ceased its search efforts and shifted focus to recovery operations.

Stretching over 2.6 kilometers (1.6 miles), the bridge suffered irreparable damage when the vessel struck a vital support structure.

Authorities have reported that the ship encountered a “power issue” and issued a distress signal just moments before the collision occurred.

A massive search and rescue operation, involving boats and helicopters, was initiated to locate the missing individuals. Two individuals were rescued from the water, with one in critical condition.

Rear Admiral Shannon Gilreath of the US Coast Guard has indicated that the remaining missing persons are presumed deceased, considering factors such as water temperature and the duration they have been submerged.

Reports suggest that the missing individuals were part of a construction crew engaged in bridge maintenance at the time of the collapse.

Efforts are now concentrated on investigating the circumstances leading to the incident. A team of transportation safety experts aims to access the ship’s data recorder for vital information.

The container ship, registered under the Singapore flag as Dali, collided with a support column of the 47-year-old bridge at approximately 01:30 local time, while en route to Colombo, Sri Lanka, from Port Breeze.

According to a report from a US federal government agency, the vessel experienced a loss of propulsion upon departing from the port, prompting the crew to alert Maryland transport authorities about the impending collision.

Maryland Governor Wes Moore confirmed reports of a power issue aboard the ship, noting that it lost power before striking the bridge support.

Several vehicles, including one of considerable size, plunged into the water following the collapse.

Local authorities, including the Baltimore Fire Department and the US Coast Guard, spearheaded rescue efforts, despite challenges posed by the tide and freezing temperatures.

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott described the event as an “unthinkable tragedy,” emphasizing the urgency of rescue operations.

Engineering teams are assessing the structural impact of the bridge collapse, as confirmed by Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul Wiedefeld.

Synergy Marine Group, the shipping company responsible for the vessel, disclosed that there were 22 individuals onboard, including an all-Indian crew and two local port pilots. They reported no injuries among the crew.

The cause of the incident remains under investigation, with Synergy Marine Group pledging full cooperation with federal agencies.

In response to the tragedy, shipping giant Maersk expressed horror and extended condolences to those affected. They clarified that their crew and personnel were not onboard the vessel.

US President Joe Biden has pledged support for Baltimore, vowing to expedite search and rescue efforts and fund the bridge’s reconstruction. He assured that the federal government would cover the costs pending congressional approval.

Image source: Sky News