The Francis Scott Key Bridge, a vital structure in Baltimore, suffered a catastrophic collapse in the early hours of Tuesday following a collision with a large cargo ship. The incident triggered a massive emergency response as authorities worked to rescue at least seven individuals who were thrown into the water.

The Baltimore City Fire Department swiftly classified the collapse as a mass-casualty incident, responding to numerous 911 calls reporting the vessel’s collision with the Key Bridge around 1:30 a.m. “This is currently a mass casualty incident, and we are searching for seven people who are in the river,” stated Kevin Cartwright, the Baltimore Fire Department’s communications director, to Reuters. According to reports, multiple vehicles plunged into the river following the collapse, intensifying the urgency of the situation.

Baltimore Mayor Brendon Scott confirmed his awareness of the unfolding tragedy and disclosed his immediate journey to the bridge. “Emergency personnel are on scene, and efforts are underway,” Mayor Scott assured.

Ship tracking data provided by LSEG identified the Singapore-flagged container ship involved in the accident as the Dali. The vessel was positioned near the Key Bridge at the time of the collision. As per Reuters, Grace Ocean Pte Ltd. is the registered owner of the ship, managed by Synergy Marine Group.

Synergy Marine Corp promptly addressed the collision, stating that the Dali had struck one of the bridge’s pillars. Thankfully, all crew members, including the two pilots, were safely located, and no injuries were reported among them.

In response to the incident, the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) announced the complete closure of all lanes in both directions on I-695 Key Bridge. Traffic management protocols were enacted to redirect vehicles away from the affected area.

The Francis Scott Key Bridge, named in honor of the author of the “Star-Spangled Banner,” stands as a critical 1.6-mile, 4-lane structure spanning the Patapsco River. According to the MDTA, the bridge has served as a vital transportation artery since its opening in 1977, playing a pivotal role in the region’s infrastructure network.