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Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge Collapses After Being Struck By Cargo Ship

A cargo ship is shown after running into and collapsing the Francis Scott Key Bridge on March 26, 2024, in Baltimore, Maryland. | Source: Rob Carr / Getty

As Baltimore reels following a cargo ship’s overnight collision with a major bridge, Mayor Brandon Scott is making a plea to media repeatedly showing video of the catastrophe: Stop it now.

The Francis Scott Key Bridge crumbled into the Patapsco River around 1:20 a.m. on Tuesday after the cargo ship, named Dali, made contact with the mile-long span as cars crossed the structure that connects Baltimore City and neighboring Anne Arundel County.

There were multiple cars on the bridge when Dali struck it, resulting in a major rescue mission being waged as the sun rose amid murky water conditions replete with debris obstructing first responders’ efforts, the Baltimore Sun reported.

There were also Department of Transportation contractors working on the bridge at the time of the collision.

Two people were rescued from the water. One of them died from their injuries and the other refused treatment, according to reports.

As many as seven people were feared to have fallen into the Patapsco River, which has waters with temperatures around 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Experts have estimated that no one can survive in waters with that temperature for more than three hours, in part because of the threat of hypothermia, which happens when the human body loses heat faster than it can be generated.

More from the Baltimore Sun:

In a Tuesday morning news conference, just a few hours after the incident, Baltimore Fire Department Chief James Wallace said authorities are “still very much in an active search and rescue posture.” He said they are searching for “upwards of seven individuals” and that sonar has detected the presence of vehicles in the water.

“This is a tragedy that you could never imagine … It looked like something out of an action movie,” Mayor Brandon Scott said.

CNN is among the national media outlets repeatedly showing video footage of the collision.

During its coverage, the cable news network interviewed Mayor Scott, who was still on the scene near the bridge with other officials.


Baltimore Police Commissioner Richard Worley, with Mayor Brandon Scott (R) and Fire Department Chief James Wallace (L), speaks at a press conference on the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge Baltimore, Maryland, on March 26, 2024. | Source: JIM WATSON / Getty

While expressing the urgency of the situation, Scott issued a plea to CNN and other media organizations to stop showing the video footage of the collision. Scott suggested repeatedly showing the footage was gratuitous and cautioned that viewing the video could prove to be traumatizing, particularly to friends and family of any victims.

Calling the scene “surreal,” Scott expressed concern for “those families, individuals that were on that bridge” and “folks that were even on that vessel.” Scott said “no one should have to endure” such a tragedy before issuing a plea to the media covering the story.

“I’m gonna be the first to ask that CNN and everyone else stop showing the video,” Scott said. “No one needs to see a possibility of their family member being severely injured or otherwise over and over and over again because it’s just traumatizing.”

The CNN broadcast journalist interviewing Scott did not immediately respond to his request and continued questioning the mayor live on the air.

But when CNN returned from a commercial break following the interview with Scott, the network resumed showing the footage of the collision.

“It is important to see this moment,” CNN anchor John Berman said as the footage rolled.

Key Bridge in Baltimore collapses after large vessel collision

Source: Anadolu / Gettybrondon scottbrandon

City and federal officials said the threat of terrorism has been ruled out from the collision with the bridge.

Little information has been reported about the cause of the collision that caused the Key Bridge to collapse as a federal investigation gets underway.

A total of 24 people were aboard Dali, including two pilots and 22 crew members, none of whom were reported to have sustained any injuries from the collision.

Video footage from the immediate moments before the collision showed the ship’s lights flickering on and off which could suggest it suffered some semblance of a power outage.

The Key Bridge opened in 1977 and took five years to be built.

The Maryland Transportation Authority reported that about 34,000 vehicles crossed the Key Bridge daily last year.

The collision happened a little more than three months after President Joe Biden announced nearly $5 billion for major transportation projects, including updating aging bridges, many of which were first built many decades ago. Baltimore’s Key Bridge was not on the list of the 37 planned projects for which the federal funding was earmarked.

This is a developing story that will be updated as additional information becomes available.


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