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Baltimore Key Bridge collapse live updates: 6 people presumed dead

  • The Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore was struck by a container ship early Tuesday, causing it to collapse.
  • A "mayday" was issued that halted traffic across the bridge, but authorities still can't say if any vehicles fell into the water.
  • 6 missing construction workers are presumed dead by their employer, but search and rescue efforts ended Tuesday night as officials said they will enter the recovery phase.
  • Baltimore's Key Bridge is located southeast of the Baltimore metropolitan area and carries Interstate 695 across the Patapsco River.

7: 30 p.m.: Officials end the search and rescue phase, enter recovery operations 

Roland L. Butler Jr., superintendent for Maryland State Police, said in the evening that the search and rescue mission was transitioning to one of search and recovery. He said divers would return to the site at 6 a.m. the following day, when challenging overnight conditions are expected to improve.

5:50 p.m.: Satellite images of bridge crash

Satellite imagery obtained by Maxar Technologies taken before noon on Tuesday show the Dali container ship underneath a section of the bridge in the river.

Photos taken around 11:36 and 11:59 a.m. EDT on Tuesday show the container ship under parts of the collapsed bridge and the search efforts underway around the crash site. 


MAXAR satellite imagery before and after the collision with the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland on March 26, 2024.  (Satellite image ©2024 Maxar Technologies)

5:30 p.m.: Pilot tried to slow ship

The pilot of the ship that caused the Baltimore bridge collapse tried to slow it down before the crash, the head of a trade association for maritime pilots told the Associated Press.

Clay Diamond, executive director of the American Pilots’ Association, said he has been in close contact with officials from the Association of Maryland Pilots who described to him what happened as the ship approached the bridge. He said when the ship was a few minutes out, it lost all power, including to its engines.

The pilot immediately ordered the rudder hard to port to keep the ship from turning right and ordered the port anchor be dropped, which it was, Diamond said. The pilot also contacted a dispatch office to get the bridge shut down.

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

3:50 p.m.: 6 missing construction workers presumed dead

A senior executive from the company that employed the Key Bridge construction workers says six of the workers are presumed dead and one was hospitalized.

Brawner Builders Executive Vice President Jeffrey Pritzker says the crew was working in the middle of the bridge’s span when a cargo ship hit it early Tuesday. 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.

"This was so completely unforeseen," Pritzker said. "We don’t know what else to say. We take such great pride in safety, and we have cones and signs and lights and barriers and flaggers. But we never foresaw that the bridge would collapse."

Governor Wes Moore, in a 3:30 p.m. press conference, insisted, "this is still an active search and rescue." 

Meanwhile, the chief of trauma at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center says one patient who arrived at 2:30 a.m. remained hospitalized Tuesday afternoon and another had been released.

The hospital did not release the name or condition of either patient, nor the nature of their injuries.

2:15 p.m.: Supply chain manager says Americans should expect shortages

The head of a supply chain management company said Americans should expect shortages of goods as the Baltimore bridge collapse affects ocean container shipping and East Coast trucking logistics.

Petersen was working with his team Tuesday to reroute about 800 shipping containers currently making their way to Baltimore’s port.

"It’s a scramble because each of those containers has now a new journey to clear customs, you’ve got to get a different truck to pick it up at a different port, it creates a whole lot of downstream work," he said.

1:40 p.m.: Witness video shows bridge collapse

Footage filmed by Baltimore resident Toby Gutermuth shows a view of the collapse from nearby Fort Armistead Park.

Gutermuth told Storyful he was with friends at the park when the collapse happened. 

"I saw what I thought was cargo falling off the front of the ship, causing a splash. I already had my phone out, so I started recording almost instantly. Right after, I witnessed the bridge collapse," he recalled.

12:50 p.m.: Biden pledges to "move Heaven and Earth" to rebuild

In brief remarks from the White House, President Joe Biden promised that the federal government would cover the cost of rebuilding the bridge, calling on Congress to secure the funding.

The president said he's directed the Army Corps of Engineers to lead the effort to clear the channel of debris, noting that 15,000 jobs depend on having the port open and functioning.

"We’re gonna send all the federal resources they need," he promised. "We’re going to rebuild that port together."

He also reiterated that there was no sign of any foul play in the collapse.

"Our prayers are with everyone involved in this terrible accident," he added.

11 a.m.: Close-up views of the ship

The Baltimore City Fire Department shared some photos from its Rescue 1 Team showing damage to the bridge and the Dali ship.

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Photo courtesy Baltimore County Fire Department Rescue 1 team

"Devastating news out of Baltimore early this morning," BCFD wrote. "Crews were dispatched for rescue efforts, but the number of casualties is unknown at this time. Such a tragedy for our city and our people. Our condolences to the families of the lost.

10 a.m.: At least 6 people unaccounted for

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore told reporters during a mid-morning update that a preliminary investigation pointed to the bridge collapse being an accident and confirmed the crew of the ship involved had notified authorities of a power issue. 

Meanwhile, the Coast Guard is continuing to search for those who fell into the water.

Paul Wiedefeld, Maryland’s Secretary of Transportation, confirmed eight people were victims: two that were rescued, and one of whom is currently hospitalized. Six people were still unaccounted for, which authorities believe are part of a construction crew. 

When asked if he had any information on vehicles that had possibly driven into the water, he said, "Not at this time." 

Moore said officials were able to issue a "mayday" that halted traffic across the bridge.

"I’m thankful for the folks who, once the warning came up and once the notification came up, that there was a mayday, who, literally by being able to stop cars from coming over the bridge, these people are heroes. They saved lives last night," Moore said.

9:30 a.m.: History of the Francis Scott Key Bridge

The Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore has a storied history dating back to its construction in the late 1970s.

It opened in March 1977 and is one of three toll crossings of Baltimore's Harbor. Upon completion, the bridge structure became the final connection to Interstate 695 (the Baltimore Beltway), according to the Maryland Transportation Authority.

The bridge cost an estimated  $110 million and represented the best option for drivers because it allowed for more traffic lanes and carried lower operating and maintenance costs than a tunnel. 

9 a.m.: Other major bridge collapses in US history caused by ships


9th May 1980: Debris from the Sunshine Skyway Bridge perched on the bow of the freighter 'Summit Venture' after the vessel rammed the bridge during a thunderstorm at Tampa Bay, Florida, causing 34 deaths. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

From 1960 to 2015, there were 35 major bridge collapses worldwide due to ship or barge collisions, with a total of 342 people killed, according to a 2018 report from the World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure. 

Eighteen of those collapses happened in the United States.

Among the more notable collapses in the U.S. was that of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge spanning Florida's Tampa Bay in 1980, which killed 35 people.

In 1993, barges being pushed by a towboat in dense fog hit and displaced the Big Bayou Canot railroad bridge near Mobile, Alabama. Minutes later, an Amtrak train with 220 people aboard reached the displaced bridge and derailed, killing 47 people and injuring 103 people.

In 2009, a vessel pushing eight barges rammed into the Popp's Ferry Bridge in Biloxi, Mississippi, resulting in a 150-foot section of the bridge collapsing into the bay.

In 2002, a barge hit the Interstate 40 bridge over the Arkansas River at Webbers Falls, Oklahoma, collapsing a 500-foot section of road and plunging vehicles into the water. Fourteen people died and 11 were injured.

8 a.m.: Bridge collapse brings back memories of Florida disaster 

The collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore gave Florida residents frightening flashbacks to another disaster: On May 9, 1980, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge collapsed after being hit by a freighter in one of the worst tragedies in the area's history.

The M/V Summit Venture freighter collided with a support beam on the Skyway Bridge, connecting Lower Tampa Bay to St. Pete, sending a 1,200-foot section of the road into the water below. 

Six cars, a truck, and a Greyhound bus fell over 150 feet into the water, killing 35 people.

7:45 a.m.: First daylight video of Baltimore's Key Bridge

7:30 a.m.: 'There were individuals on the bridge at the time’

In a news conference, Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul Wiedefeld called the Baltimore Key Bridge collapse "catastrophic" and said there were an unknown number of workers doing repairs on the bridge when it collapsed.

"We know there were individuals on the bridge at the time of the collapse, working on the bridge," Wiedefeld told reporters. 

He also noted search and rescue challenges, such as the early morning darkness, and the current and cold temperatures of the water. 

7 a.m.: ‘Active search and rescue’ underway

In a press conference around 6:30 a.m. local time on Tuesday, officials said two people had been removed from the river, including one person who was taken to a local hospital in serious condition. 

"Upwards of seven people" could still be in the water, according to Baltimore Fire Chief James Wallace, but he said that number could change.

"We are still very much in an active search and rescue posture, and we will continue to be for some time," Wallace told reporters. 

Wallace said sonar had detected the presence of vehicles submerged in the water, but did not immediately have a count to share.

Meanwhile, Baltimore Police Commissioner Richard Worley said there was "absolutely no indication that there's any terrorism, that this was done on purpose."

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Baltimore Key Bridge collapses after struck by cargo ship; 2 rescued, several others believed in water

Bridge collapse: What happened?

Agencies received emergency calls around 1:30 a.m. local time reporting that a ship leaving Baltimore had struck a column on the bridge, according to Kevin Cartwright, director of communications for the Baltimore Fire Department.

Several vehicles were on the bridge at the time, including one the size of a tractor-trailer truck.

The Francis Scott Key Bridge is pictured on March 26, 2024. (Credit: HATFORD COUNTY FIRE EMS)

The Francis Scott Key Bridge is pictured on March 26, 2024. (Credit: Harford County Fire EMS)

The cargo ship crashed into one of the bridge's supports, causing the structure to snap and buckle at several points and tumble into the water in a matter of seconds — a shocking spectacle that was captured on video and posted on social media.

The ship caught fire, and thick, black smoke billowed out of it.

"Never would you think that you would see, physically see, the Key Bridge tumble down like that. It looked like something out of an action movie," said Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, calling it "an unthinkable tragedy."

The temperature in the river was about 47 degrees Fahrenheit (8 degrees Celsius) in the early hours of Tuesday, according to a buoy that collects data for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"This is a dire emergency," Cartwright said earlier Tuesday. "Our focus right now is trying to rescue and recover these people."

From a vantage point near the entrance to the bridge, jagged remnants of its steel frame were visible protruding from the water, with the on-ramp ending abruptly where the span once began.

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore declared a state of emergency and said he was working to get federal resources deployed. The FBI was also on the scene.


The ship that hit the Key Bridge

Synergy Marine Group — which owns and manages the ship called the "Dali" — confirmed the vessel hit a pillar of the bridge at about 1:30 a.m. while it was in control of two pilots. 

It said all crew members, including the pilots, were accounted for and there are no reports of any injuries.

The Dali was headed from Baltimore to Colombo, Sri Lanka, and sailing under the Singapore flag, according to data from Marine Traffic. 

The Francis Scott Key Bridge is pictured on March 26, 2024. (Credit: HATFORD COUNTY FIRE EMS)

The Francis Scott Key Bridge is pictured on March 26, 2024. (Credit: Harford County Fire EMS)

The container ship is about 985 feet long and about 157 feet wide, according to the website.

The Francis Scott Key Bridge

The Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore carries Interstate 695 across the Patapsco River, a vital artery that is a hub for shipping on the East Coast. 

The bridge, opened in 1977, is located southeast of the Baltimore metropolitan area. 

It was named for the writer of "The Star-Spangled Banner."

The Associated Press and FOX Weather contributed to this report.