6 presumed dead in Baltimore bridge collapse, says employer

Six people are presumed dead by their employer after the Francis Key Bridge collapsed Tuesday. Governor Wes Moore in a 3:30 p.m. press conference said, "This is still an active search and rescue." 

Brawner Builders Executive Vice President Jeffrey Pritzker told the Associated Press the crew was working in the middle of the bridge’s span when a cargo ship hit it early Tuesday and crumbled the bridge. He says the bodies of the workers have not yet been recovered but they are presumed to have died given the water’s depth and the amount of time that has passed since the collapse.

"I know there's a thorough investigation that's going to be going on about everything that took place last night and things that led up to it and also the aftermath," Gov. Moore said. "I don't have any further comments or any concerns about the companies involved because they're still under investigation."

The National Transportation Safety Board say officials arrived on the scene around 6 a.m. to investigate the bridge collapse and crash. The NTSB is leading this investigation and the U.S. Coast Guard will support this.

The Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland collapsed after it was struck by a large container ship early Tuesday morning. The collision sent a number of vehicles and people into the frigid water below.

How many died in Baltimore bridge collapse:

U.S. Coast Guard officials announced Tuesday evening that they are suspending their search efforts until Wednesday morning, but they do not believe they will find anyone alive.

During an evening press conference, Rear Admiral Shannon Gilreath, the commander of the Fifth Coast Guard District, said, "Based on the length of time that we've gone in the search, the extensive search efforts that we put into it, the water temperature at this point, we do not believe that we will find any of these individuals still alive."

"The Coast Guard is not going away. None of our partners are going away, but we are just going to transition to a different phase," he continued.  

Colonel Roland Butler, Jr., the secretary of the Maryland State Police Department, echoed his statements. 

"The changing conditions out there have made it dangerous for the first responders and divers in the water," he said. "We will still have surface ships out overnight."

Earlier in the day, Baltimore Fire Chief James Wallace said two people had been rescued following the collapse. One was hospitalized and one was not. At least six others are still believed to be in the water. All eight were part of a construction crew that was filling potholes.

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Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore collapses after ship struck it, sending vehicles into water (StreamTime Live / YouTube)

Baltimore Key Bridge collapse:

The ship crashed into one of the bridge's supports around 1:30 a.m., causing it to break apart. All vessel traffic into and out of the Port of Baltimore was suspended on Tuesday.

The ship, called the Dali, was headed from Baltimore to Colombo, Sri Lanka, and flying under a Singapore flag, according to data from Marine Traffic. The container ship is about 985 feet long and about 157 feet wide, according to the website.

Francis Scott Key Bridge history:

Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge stretches 1.6 miles and crosses over the Patapsco River in Maryland. The bridge opened in 1977 as the final link in I-695 Baltimore Beltway and spans the Patapsco River at the entrance to a busy harbor. 

The river leads to the Port of Baltimore, a major hub for shipping on the East Coast that also provides convenient and safe transportation for local and interstate traffic.


What to know about Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge

The Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland collapsed after it was struck by a large container ship early Tuesday morning. Here's what we know about the bridge and its history.

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The steel frame of the Francis Scott Key Bridge sits on top of the container ship Dali after the bridge collapsed, Baltimore, Maryland, on March 26, 2024. (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

The Associated Press contributed to this report.