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‘Mass casualties’ feared as Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge collapses | transport News

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DEVELOPING STORY,

Authorities say emergency personnel were at the scene and rescue efforts were under way.

The Francis Scott Key Bridge in the United States city of Baltimore has collapsed after a ship hit it.

Media reports said that the vessel crashed into the bridge at about 1:30am, catching fire before sinking and causing multiple vehicles to fall into the water below. Officials have called the incident a “developing mass casualty event”.

“All lanes closed both directions for incident on I-695 Key Bridge. Traffic is being detoured,” the Maryland Transportation Authority posted on X.

The Baltimore mayor said emergency personnel were at the scene and rescue efforts were under way.

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 about 3am.

He said agencies received 911 calls at about 1:30am reporting a vessel travelling outbound from Baltimore had struck a column on the bridge, causing it to collapse.

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

“Our focus right now is trying to rescue and recover these people,” Cartwright said.

He added that it’s too early to know how many people have been affected but called the incident a “developing mass casualty event”.

Emergency responders are having to operate cautiously as it appears that there are “some cargo or retainers hanging from the bridge,” creating unsafe and unstable conditions, he continued.

“This is a dire emergency,” he said.

A live video posted on YouTube showed a ship hitting the bridge, after which major portions of the spans collapsed into the Patapsco River. Unverified videos posted on social media X also showed the impact and collapse.

More to follow.

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