Bridge collapse leaves 6 construction workers missing

BALTIMORE, MD – Six construction workers have become the focus of an extensive search effort after a major cargo vessel crashed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge, leading it to collapse into the Patapsco River in Baltimore on Tuesday. This incident has disrupted a vital route for East Coast shipping.

Early Tuesday morning, a departing ship from the Port of Baltimore reportedly collided with the Key Bridge, causing a swift bridge collapse. The crew sent out a distress signal shortly before the incident, warning of a power malfunction, confirmed the authorities.

Disturbing visuals from the scene show the cargo ship hitting a bridge column, resulting in a part of the bridge snapping and partially falling onto the ship, emitting smoke and fire into the sky.

Several vehicles, along with the construction crew who were doing repairs on the bridge at the time, plunged into the icy Patapsco River. Two individuals have been rescued so far, one unharmed, the other in critical condition, said Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul Wiedefeld.

According to James Wallace, Chief of the Baltimore City Fire Department, the ship, owned by shipping company Maersk and bound for Sri Lanka, remained inhabited by its crew pending a damage assessment that would allow rescue crews to board it.

There appears to be a power loss a few minutes before the ship hit the bridge, a senior U.S. official revealed, while Maryland Governor Wes Moore stated that the unfortunate accident was due to a “power issue,” as suggested by the crew. There is no official cause for the crash yet.

Local resident Greg Trenchard, 43, expressed shock at seeing the bridge, which he had driven over countless times, now gone. Trenchard described the collapse as a major setback for the city and the revitalization efforts of Maryland’s shipping industry.

A variety of local, state, and federal agencies are currently involved in a robust search operation. The scope includes a large section of the river, above and below the water surface, and the ship itself, exploring with divers, helicopters, and sonar technology.

Governor Moore has announced a state of emergency and assured that federal resources from the Biden Administration will be quickly deployed. Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott termed the incident as an “unthinkable tragedy”, and President Joe Biden has also been briefed, with regular updates promised by the White House.