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Baltimore bridge collapse LIVE: Rescue efforts for six missing 'top priority' after cargo ship crash

Maryland’s governor vowed on Tuesday night that all resources would be deployed in the search for the six missing since the collapse of a Baltimore bridge moments after a cargo ship crashed into it.

The ship's crew issued a mayday call moments before the crash took down the Francis Scott Key Bridge, enabling authorities to limit vehicle traffic on the span, Wes Moore said.

With the ship barrelling toward the bridge at "a very, very rapid speed," authorities had just enough time to stop cars from coming over the bridge, Mr Moore said.

"These people are heroes," Mr Moore said. "They saved lives last night."

The crash happened in the middle of the night, long before the busy morning commute on the bridge that stretches 1.6 miles and was used by 12 million vehicles last year.

The six people missing, part of a construction crew on the bridge, were presumed dead, a senior executive at the company which employed them.

Jeffrey Pritzker, executive vice president of Brawner Builders, said the crew was working in the middle of the bridge when it came apart. No bodies have been recovered.

Earlier Tuesday, US president Joe Biden vowed federal government would fund the rebuilding of the bridge, saying officials would move “heaven and earth” to make it happen.

There is an ongoing multi-agency rescue operation being led by the fire department, collaborating with the US Coastguard and other Maryland agencies.

The ship, named the Dali was headed through Baltimore to Colombo, Sri Lanka, as its final destination, according to Marine Traffic and Vessel Finder. It was flying under a Singapore flag.

Follow latest updates below.

Live coverage ends

22:05 , Josh Salisbury

Our live coverage of the bridge collapse is ending for today.

For an overview of the day’s developments, please visit here.

Mayday call came two minutes before impact

20:58 , Josh Salisbury

The pilot steering the Dali made a mayday call to authorities roughly two minutes before the ship collided with the bridge, according to Baltimore authorities.

Baltimore County Executive John Olszewski confirmed the mayday call, which officials earlier credited with saving lives.

Reports earlier suggested the boat dropped its anchor, but it’s not clear if the crew were able successfully deploy it.

Americans to 'face shortages' after bridge collapse

19:39 , Josh Salisbury

Americans are being warned to expect shortages of goods as the Baltimore bridge collapse affects ocean container shipping.

"It's not just the port of Baltimore that's going to be impacted," said Ryan Petersen, CEO of Flexport.

Mr Petersen said attacks on cargo ships in the Red Sea connecting Asia with Europe and the United States have forced traffic away from the Suez Canal, with some US importers increasingly shifting to West Coast ports.

However, the port of Baltimore is now out of action due to the bridge collapse.

"You get this vicious feedback loop," he said, adding: “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.”

Six missing workers 'presumed dead', says employer

19:22 , Josh Salisbury

A senior executive at the company that employed the construction workers who've been unaccounted for since a Baltimore bridge collapsed says six of the company's workers are presumed dead and one worker was hospitalised.

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 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.

"This was so completely unforeseen," Mr 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."

Radio traffic shows officials went to warn construction crew

19:03 , Josh Salisbury

Radio traffic has suggested officers were just about to alert a construction crew when a major bridge in Baltimore collapsed after being hit by the container ship.

The Maryland Transportation Authority first responder radio traffic includes a dispatcher putting out a call saying a ship had lost its steering ability and asking officers to stop all traffic. It took officers less than two minutes to stop traffic on the bridge.

One officer who had stopped traffic radioed that he was going to drive onto the bridge to notify the construction crew once a second officer arrived. But seconds later, a frantic officer radioed that the bridge had collapsed.

The six people still unaccounted for were part of the construction crew, which was filling potholes on the bridge.

Problems previously found in ship which hit bridge

18:33 , Josh Salisbury

Inspectors in June found a problem with the machinery of the ship that caused the bridge to collapse.

But according to the shipping information system Equasis, a more recent examination of the ship, called the Dali, did not identify any deficiencies.

The Dali, owned by Grace Ocean PTE, has been inspected at least 27 times at ports around the world since it was built in 2015.

An inspection at a port in Chile in June identified a problem with the ship's "propulsion and auxiliary machinery," according to Equasis, but the website's online records didn't elaborate.

The most recent inspection listed for the Dali was conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard in New York on September 13, 2023. According to the Equasis data, the "standard examination" didn't identify any deficiencies.

Biden: I'll travel to Baltimore as soon as I can

17:36 , Josh Salisbury

US president Joe Biden has he plans to travel to Baltimore "as quickly as I can" and that he plans for the federal government to pick up the entire cost of reconstruction of the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

"We're going to rebuild that port together," Biden said in brief remarks from the White House, shortly before departing for North Carolina.

The president said he expects lawmakers on Capitol Hill to support his bid to ensure the US government pays for rebuilding the bridge.

"This is going to take some time," Mr Biden said. "The people of Baltimore can count on us, though, to stick with them at every step of the way until the port is reopened and the bridge is rebuilt."

Biden repeated earlier statements from officials that all current indications were that the collapse was an accident.

"At this time, we have no other indication, no other reason to believe there's any intentional act here," he said.

Biden: Government will 'move heaven and earth' to rebuild bridge

16:58 , Josh Salisbury

Joe Biden has said in remarks in the last few minutes that federal government will cover the cost of rebuilding the bridge, saying he has directed his team to "move heaven and earth".

He adds of the port the bridge serves: “We're going to do everything we can to protect those jobs and help those workers."

'No pollution' from boat collision

16:20 , Josh Salisbury

No pollution has been found from a collision involving the Dali container ship and one of the pillars of a bridge in Baltimore, the vessel's owner Grace Ocean Pte Ltd said on Tuesday.

"All crew members, including the two pilots have been accounted for and there are no reports of any injuries,” the company said.

“There has also been no pollution.”

The company added that the exact cause of the incident was yet to be determined.

Joe Biden to make address on incident shortly

16:09 , Josh Salisbury

US President Joe Biden will make an address on the incident shortly, the White House has said.

Mr Biden’s remarks are expected at around 4.30pm GMT (12.30pm local time).

Ship involved in previous Antwerp incident

15:52 , Josh Salisbury

The ship that caused the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore early on Tuesday was also involved in an accident in the port of Antwerp, Belgium, in 2016.

The Antwerp port authorities said the container ship Dali hit a quay on July 11, 2016, as it tried to exit the North Sea container terminal.

The port authority could give no details about the cause of the accident, but said the ship had remained at the dock for repairs for some time after the incident.

"As a general rule, these accidents are investigated and ships are only allowed to leave after experts have determined it is safe for them to do so," a spokesperson for the Antwerp port said.

Maryland Governor Wes Moore addresses the press

15:31 , Jordan King

Maryland Governor Wes Moore (left) speaks during a news conference (AP)
Maryland Governor Wes Moore (left) speaks during a news conference (AP)

2023 ship inspection found no deficiencies

15:24 , Jordan King

The Singapore-flagged Dali was last inspected in September 2023 in New York and no issues were reported at the time.

The Dali was built in 2015 and has largely been managed by Synergy Marine.

Ship 'dropped anchors' before colliding with bridge

15:20 , Jordan King

The ship dropped its anchors, as part of its emergency procedure, before it went into the bridge, the Singapore Port Authority said.

We still don't know how many cars are in the water

15:13 , Jordan King

Maryland Governor Wes Moore was not able to say how many cars are still in the water, which is about 50ft (15m) deep.

Accident was 'disaster waiting to happen' claims expert

14:59 , Jacob Phillips

An expert has raised questions about whether the age of the bridge could have affected its ability to withstand the collision.

Ian Firth, a structural engineer and bridge designer, told the Standard’s Tech & Science Daily podcast: “We’re looking at a very, very large vessel, the type of which did not exist back in 1970 you know, much, much larger than was envisaged back then, a navigation channel which is only 350 or so metres wide, which is not very wide for ships of that scale, and so yeah, potentially, you could say it's a disaster waiting to happen sadly.”

According to Mr Firth, the bridge was built in the early 1970s, at a time before structures designed to protect against collisions were considered a standard part of the build.

“We design structures in the water, in this country we call them dolphins, something which is sacrificial, something which, if the ship hits it, it doesn't hit the bridge.”

He said: “It gets deflected by this object or slowed down sufficiently that if it does hit the bridge, the energy has gone out of it, and it's not going to do so much damage.

“It doesn't have that kind of protection. There is some, there is one little round object each side of the bridge I've seen from the photographs, but it's not adequate. It's obviously insufficient to do the job.”

Crews sent out 'mayday' call before the crash

14:36 , Jacob Phillips

Governor West Moore said the ship was moving towards the bridge at a “very rapid speed”.

He explained crews put out a “mayday” emergency signal - but the boat’s speed appeared to be too fast to avoid the incident.

He said the distress call did ensure more cars were stopped from crossing the bridge, preventing a worse disaster.

Mr Moore said: “We had a ship that was coming in at eight knots, so coming in at a very rapid speed.

“I’m thankful for the folks who once the warning came up and once the notification came up there was a mayday.

“By being able to stop cars from coming over the bridge these people are heroes. They saved lives last night.”

Bridge was fully up to code, Maryland governor says

14:18 , Jacob Phillips

The Francis Scott Key Bridge was "fully up to code" and had no structural issues, Maryland Govenor Wes Moore said during news conference on Tuesday.

The bridge collapsed after a container ship collided into it early on Tuesday.

He explained that the crew on the boat notified authorities that they had lost power on the ship ahead of the incident.

Six people being searched for in the water

14:16 , Jacob Phillips

Maryland governor Wes Moore told reporters his “exclusive focus is on saving lives”.

He explained that there are six individuals who are being searched for. Another person was taken to hospital and authorities are speaking to another person who was involved in the collapse.

He added that there was no one in vehicles in the water.

Paul Wiedfeld, secretary of the Maryland Department of Transportation added that he believes those missing are the construction crew who were repairing potholes on the bridge.

Preliminary investigation 'points to an accident'

14:02 , Jacob Phillips

Maryland governor Wes Moore says response teams are doing "everything in their power" to recover the casualties of the bridge collapse.

Addressing the victims and their families, he told a news conference: "All of our hearts are broken... we're thinking of you and we will always be thinking of you.

He added: “We pray for the construction workers who were on the Key Bridge and everyone who has been touched by this tragedy.”

Details are being gathered "quickly" but the preliminary investigation points to it being an accident, he explained, adding that there was no information to suggest it was terrorism-related.

'There was nothing there' - witness

13:42 , Jacob Phillips

Jayme Krause was in the midst of another night shift at her workplace on shore when the cart of packages in front of her shook violently at around 2am. A coworker told her the bridge had collapsed and she ran out to look.

"I went over there, and sure as anything, it was gone, the whole bridge was just like, there was nothing there," she told Reuters in an interview.

"It was a shocking sight to see."

'Conditions are difficult'

13:04 , Jordan King

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski described how difficult the conditions under which the search and rescue operation is currently taking place.

He said: “We're talking about a deep channel port. It's 40, 50 feet of water, strong currents.

“The weather is windy, the water is cold. And so we certainly worry about those who are in the water, not to mention the fall from the bridge.”

Dive operations begin

13:01 , Jordan King

Dive operations have begun in the search for those still missin after the bridge collapse.

Emergency services are able to start doing this now that “the sun is coming up”, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski told CNN.

Close-ups of the scene

12:54 , Jordan King

Close up pictures from the scene of the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore (BCFD Engine 5, Truck 3, Medic 10)
Close up pictures from the scene of the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore (BCFD Engine 5, Truck 3, Medic 10)
Close up pictures from the scene of the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore (BCFD Engine 5, Truck 3, Medic 10)
Close up pictures from the scene of the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore (BCFD Engine 5, Truck 3, Medic 10)
Close up pictures from the scene of the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore (BCFD Engine 5, Truck 3, Medic 10)
Close up pictures from the scene of the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore (BCFD Engine 5, Truck 3, Medic 10)

Choppy waters and tide coming in

12:47 , Jordan King

Waters are reportedly choppy in Baltimore, with officials saying the temperature was around 9C at the time of collapse.

The tide is coming in while the search and rescue mission continues, making efforts even more difficult.

Emergency services are still looking for at least seven people.

Ship crew 'warned officials of possible crash'

12:42 , Jordan King

The crew on board the ship warned Maryland officials that it may crash, after the vessel “lost propulsion” as it left port, according to an unclassified US intelligence report quoted by ABC News.

The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency reportedly said: "The vessel notified MD Department of Transportation that they had lost control of the vessel and a collision with the bridge was possible.

"The vessel struck the bridge causing a complete collapse."

More pictures of the bridge collapse:

12:39 , Jordan King

A US Coast Guard vessel secures the perimeter (REUTERS)
A US Coast Guard vessel secures the perimeter (REUTERS)
The steel frame of the Francis Scott Key Bridge sits on top of the container ship (AFP via Getty Images)
The steel frame of the Francis Scott Key Bridge sits on top of the container ship (AFP via Getty Images)
Emergency personnel work on the scene (REUTERS)
Emergency personnel work on the scene (REUTERS)

World's focus should be on those who may still be in water - Baltimore mayor

12:19 , Jordan King

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott said that while the bridge collapse is “an unspeakable tragedy”, the world’s focus should be on anyone who may still be stuck in the water.

He told CNN: “Right now, everyone in this world's focus should be about these souls and those families who are wondering if these people are going to walk back in the door after they walked out to work last night.”

Terrorism not suspected, Maryland Transportation Secretary says

12:15 , Jordan King

Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul Wiedefeld said the FBI was on scene, but terrorism is not suspected.

“It’s an open investigation but there’s nothing that points to that in any direction,” he added.

Mr Wiedefeld also said there was a crew working on the bridge doing “concrete deck repair” at the time of the collapse.

He said officials are investigating how many workers were there.

In the meantime, vessel traffic into and out of the Port of Baltimore is suspended until further notice, but the port is still open for trucks.

President Biden briefed on bridge collapse

12:06 , Jacob Phillips

US President Joe Biden has been briefed on the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore and the ongoing search and rescue efforts, the White House said on Tuesday.

"He will continue to receive updates from his team throughout the day."

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Baltimore port traffic suspended until further notice

11:37 , Jacob Phillips

Maryland transport authorities have suspended Baltimore port traffic until further notice.

'Our hearts go out to families of missing' - White House

11:19 , Jacob Phillips

The White House says “hearts go out” to the families of those missing after the “horrific” bridge collapse.

It said it was closely monitoring the situation and that officials are in touch with the governor and the mayor to offer assistance.

In a statement, the White House said: "The US Coast Guard is conducting search and rescue for those who remain unaccounted for as a result of the bridge collapse.

"Senior White House officials are in touch with the governor and mayor to offer any federal assistance they need. There is no indication of any nefarious intent."

Possible oil spill from crashed ship

10:58 , Jacob Phillips

Fire chief James Wallace said it is not yet confirmed if there is an oil spill from the crashed ship.

He said there had been “odours of diesel fuel”.

He continued: "We hope as the sun comes up, we will get a much better picture if we do have a fuel spill and what the impact has been so far.”

Baltimore Fire Department Chief James Wallace speaks at a press conference about the bridge collapse (AFP via Getty Images)
Baltimore Fire Department Chief James Wallace speaks at a press conference about the bridge collapse (AFP via Getty Images)

Collapse 'looked like an action movie' - Mayor

10:47 , Jacob Phillips

Mayor Brandon Scott described the bridge collapse as a "tragedy that you can never imagine".

He said the collapse “looked like something out of an action movie”.

The mayor said the focus should be on the “preservation of life”.

He told reporters: “The discussion right now should be about the people, the souls, the lives that we are trying to save.

“There will be a time to discuss about a bridge and how we get a bridge back up.

“But right now there are people in the water that we have to get out and that is the only thing we should be talking about.”

Crew of the Dali are still on the ship - officials

10:39 , Jacob Phillips

Baltimore officials have told a press conference that the crew of the crashed ship are still on board the vessel.

The number of people in the water has “fluctuated” over the morning, chief of Baltimore’s fire department James Wallace added.

Search for 'upwards of seven people' after incident

10:37 , Jacob Phillips

Chief of Baltimore’s fire department James Wallace told a press conference authorities "may be looking for upwards of seven people" but he said that number could change.

Two people have been rescued from the water

10:34 , Jacob Phillips

Two people have been rescued from the water with one person in a “very serious condition,” the chief of Baltimore’s fire department has said.

James Wallace said one person refused care but another has been transferred to a trauma centre.

There were multiple people reported to be on the bridge when it collapsed.

Baltimore Police Commissioner Richard Worley, with Mayor Brandon Scott (R) and Fire Department Chief James Wallace (L), at a press conference on the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge (AFP via Getty Images)
Baltimore Police Commissioner Richard Worley, with Mayor Brandon Scott (R) and Fire Department Chief James Wallace (L), at a press conference on the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge (AFP via Getty Images)

Ship that collided with Baltimore bridge was chartered by Maersk

10:23 , Jacob Phillips

The Dali container vessel that collided on Tuesday with a bridge in Baltimore was chartered by shipping company Maersk at the time of the accident, the Danish company said in a statement.

"We are horrified by what has happened in Baltimore, and our thoughts are with all of those affected," Maersk said.

The Dali was set to depart Baltimore early on Tuesday and arrive at Colombo on April 22, according to a schedule on Maersk's website.

The vessel is owned by Singapore's Grace Ocean Pte and managed by Synergy Marine Group, according to LSEG data.

Police to hold press conference

10:16 , Jacob Phillips

A news conference is expected from Baltimore police on Tuesday morning.

Police say it will take place at 10.15 UK time but the Maryland Transportation Authority says it will start at 11am, according to Sky News.

What do we know about Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge

10:13 , Jacob Phillips

The 1.6-mile (2.57 km) long Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland, collapsed in the early hours of Tuesday after being struck by a container ship, plunging cars into the water.

Here's what we know about the Key Bridge:

  • The Francis Scott Key Bridge spanning the Patapsco River is named after the author of the Star Spangled Banner, who was inspired to write the words in 1814 after witnessing the British defeat at the Battle of Baltimore.

  • The 1.6 mile outer crossing of the Baltimore Harbor opened in March 1977 as the final link in the I-695 (the Baltimore Beltway).

  • Other structures along the route include a 0.64-mile dual-span drawbridge over Curtis Creek and two 0.74-mile parallel bridge structures that carry traffic over Bear Creek, near Bethlehem Steel's Sparrows Point plant.

  • The bridge, at an estimated cost of $110 million, allowed for more traffic lanes and carried lower operating and maintenance costs than a tunnel.

A truck crosses Francis Scott Key Bridge in 2021 (AFP via Getty Images)
A truck crosses Francis Scott Key Bridge in 2021 (AFP via Getty Images)

FBI arrive at the scene

10:06 , Jacob Phillips

The FBI and officers from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), are at the scene helping with the investigation, CBS reports.

State of emergency declared following collapse of the Key Bridge

10:00 , Jacob Phillips

Maryland Governor Wes Moore has declared a state of emergency after the collapse of the Key Bridge.

US transport secretary says rescue efforts underway

09:58 , Jacob Phillips

US transport secretary Pete Buttigieg has said he has offered support following the bridge collapse.

In a post on X he said: “I’ve spoken with Gov. Moore and Mayor Scott to offer USDOT’s support following the vessel strike and collapse of the Francis Scott Key bridge.

“Rescue efforts remain underway and drivers in the Baltimore area should follow local responder guidance on detours and response.”

Baltimore resident thought bridge collapse was 'April Fools' joke'

09:35 , Jacob Phillips

Michael Brown who lives near the bridge said he thought his neighbour was pranking him when he said the Key Bridge was “gone”.

Sky News reports that Mr Brown thought it was an “April Fools’ joke”.

He told NBC News: "I came down just to see and I can't believe it. It's a major artery here in the area, not only for traffic, but for for the port. Hopefully everyone's okay that's involved in it today.”

Mr Brown said the destruction is a "major issue" - but he noted the "emphasis should be on getting whoever is in the water out".

He explained he uses the bridge to visit family.

Fire department says bridge collapse is a 'mass casualty multi agency incident'

09:25 , Jacob Phillips

Rescue workers are searching for up to 20 people in the water.

"We are in the midst of managing a mass casualty multi agency incident here," said Kevin Cartwright, director of communications of the Baltimore City Fire Department.

"Unfortunately, we understand that there are up to 20 individuals who may be in the Patapsco river as well as multiple vehicles," he told CNN.

Dive and rescue team at the scene

09:05 , Jacob Phillips

The Baltimore City Fire Department has warned there was lots of diesel fuel in the water around the ship that smashed into the bridge.

It told the BBC that "the dive and rescue team has arrived on scene to locate the individuals" in the water.

Emergency services on scene near to the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore (Harford County, MD Volunteer Fire & EMS/PA Wire)
Emergency services on scene near to the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore (Harford County, MD Volunteer Fire & EMS/PA Wire)

Water temperature below 10C

08:57 , Jacob Phillips

The US's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has said the current water temperature in Baltimore Harbour is between 9-10C.

The US national public health agency warns that hypothermia can occur in any water below 21C, the New York Times reports.

Hypothermia happens when the body temperature drops below 35C and can happen if you fall into cold water, the NHS website says.

Pictures from the scene

08:49 , Jacob Phillips

Pictures of the scene shows part of the bridge collapsed on the front of the cargo ship.

Emergency services can also be seen at the scene.

A view of the Singapore-flagged container ship 'Dali' after it collided with a pillar of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore (via REUTERS)
A view of the Singapore-flagged container ship 'Dali' after it collided with a pillar of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore (via REUTERS)

As many as 20 workers in the river - fire chief

08:32 , Jacob Phillips

As many as 20 workers are believed to have fallen into the Patapsco River after the collapse, according to the Baltimore City Fire Department communications chief.

They told the BBC the situation is likely to change as more details emerge.

All crew on the ship accounted for

08:29 , Jacob Phillips

All crew on board the ship which crashed into the bridge have been accounted for, its management company has said.

Synergy Marine Group confirmed the Dali collided with one of the Key Bridge pillars while under the control of two pilots.

Sky News reports the firm said the exact cause of the incident was yet to be determined.

Synergy said the vessel's individual incident response service has been mobilised.

Baltimore City Fire Department searching for seven people in the river

08:25 , Jacob Phillips

The Baltimore City Fire Department has described the collapse as a mass-casualty incident, and said workers were searching for seven people in the river.

he Francis Scott Key Bridge has collapsed after a ship collision in Baltimore. The 1,200 feet (366 m) span bridge was the third longest span of any continuous truss in the world. (Handout)
he Francis Scott Key Bridge has collapsed after a ship collision in Baltimore. The 1,200 feet (366 m) span bridge was the third longest span of any continuous truss in the world. (Handout)

Ship travelling to Sri Lanka

08:12 , Jacob Phillips

Marine tracking data shows the Dali cargo ship stopped at the bridge.

It shows the vessel was Singapore-flagged and travelling from Baltimore to Colombo in Sri Lanka.

'Pray for those impacted' - Baltimore County executive

08:05 , Jacob Phillips

Baltimore County executive, Johnny Olszewski Jr, has said he is in regular contact with emergency services and rescue efforts are underway.

He added: “Please pray for those impacted.”

Bridge struck by 29 metre cargo ship

08:01 , Jacob Phillips

The New York Times reports that the Dali, a 29 metre Singapore-flagged cargo ship hit the bridge.

Matthew West, a petty officer first class for the coastguard in Baltimore, told the newspaper that the coastguard received a report of an impact at 1.27am ET.

Incident is a "developing mass casualty event"

07:53 , Jacob Phillips

Emergency responders were searching for at least seven people believed to be in the water, Kevin Cartwright, director of communications for the Baltimore Fire Department, told The Associated Press at around 3 am.

He said: "Our focus right now is trying to rescue and recover these people."

Mr Cartwright added that it is too early to know how many people were affected but called the collapse a "developing mass casualty event."He said it appears there are "some cargo or retainers hanging from the bridge," creating unsafe and unstable conditions, and that emergency responders are operating cautiously as a result."This is a dire emergency," he said.

Baltimore mayor en route to scene

07:49 , Jacob Phillips

The mayor of Baltimore has said he is on his way to the incident.

Brandon Scott explained emergency efforts are underway at the scene.

Footage shows the moment the bridge collapses

07:44 , Jacob Phillips

Footage posted on X, formerly Twitter, appears to show the moment the boat hits the bridge - leading to the collapse.

Part of the bridge can be seen snapping before falling into the water.

Major bridge collapses in Baltimore

07:38 , Jacob Phillips

A major bridge has collapsed in the US city of Baltimore.

A portion of the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed after a large boat collided with it early Tuesday morning, and multiple vehicles fell into the water.

Authorities were trying to rescue at least seven people.Around 1:30am a large vessel crashed into the bridge, catching on fire before sinking and causing multiple vehicles to fall into the water below.

he Francis Scott Key Bridge has collapsed after a ship collision in Baltimore. The 1,200 feet (366 m) span bridge was the third longest span of any continuous truss in the world. (Handout)
he Francis Scott Key Bridge has collapsed after a ship collision in Baltimore. The 1,200 feet (366 m) span bridge was the third longest span of any continuous truss in the world. (Handout)