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Six Missing In The Baltimore Key Bridge Collapse

A frantic search-and-rescue operation persisted on Tuesday following the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland. The catastrophe unfolded when a container ship collided with the bridge in the early hours, causing several vehicles to plunge into the water.

According to Baltimore City Fire Department officials, six construction workers remain unaccounted for after the incident. The collision occurred when a 948-foot Singapore-flagged container ship bound for Sri Lanka collided with the Key Bridge.

Jeffrey Pritzker, a senior executive at Brawner Builders, the employer of the missing construction workers, expressed the grim presumption that they had perished, citing the depth of the water and the elapsed time since the collapse. He lamented, “This was so completely unforeseen.”

The construction crew, reportedly from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico, were in their 30s and 40s with families, according to a report from the Baltimore Banner.

Up to 20 individuals and multiple vehicles fell into the river, prompting authorities to declare it a “mass casualty event.” A video captured the moment of impact, showing the vessel striking one of the bridge’s central supports, leading to its collapse.

President Joe Biden addressed the nation, describing the incident as a “terrible accident.” He assured the affected community of his support, vowing to visit Baltimore as soon as possible. He conveyed a message of resilience, saying, “You’re Maryland tough. You’re Baltimore strong.”

The container ship issued a distress call after veering off course and experiencing a loss of power, according to Baltimore officials. The collision caused part of the bridge to collapse onto the ship, igniting a fire and sending thick smoke into the air.

Rescue efforts were complicated by hazardous conditions, with one rescued individual reported to be in critical condition. The temperature of the river at the time was approximately 47°F (8°C).

From the vantage point near the bridge, remnants of its steel frame jutted out of the water, with the on-ramp abruptly ending where the bridge once stood. All lanes on the Interstate 695 Key Bridge were closed, with traffic being diverted due to the collapse.

The director of communications for the Baltimore fire department, Kevin Cartwright, described the collapse as a “developing mass casualty event,” emphasizing the urgency of the rescue operation.

The Dali, the container ship involved in the collision, was registered in Singapore. The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore pledged to collaborate with US authorities in the investigation.

The Baltimore mayor, Brandon Scott, labeled the collision an “unthinkable tragedy,” emphasizing the priority of rescuing individuals trapped in the water. Governor Wes Moore declared a state of emergency, acknowledging the heroic efforts of emergency personnel.

The White House assured that federal resources were being mobilized to assist in the search and rescue operation. Meanwhile, the community grapples with the aftermath of the bridge collapse, mourning the victims of the “horrific incident.”

The Key Bridge, built in 1977, serves as a crucial link spanning the Patapsco River, contributing to the bustling maritime activities of the Port of Baltimore. Named after the author of the American national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner, its collapse marks a devastating moment in the city’s history.

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