Baltimore Bridge Collapses After Being Hit by Ship, Sending Vehicles Into River

A bridge in Baltimore collapsed into the Patapsco River after being hit by a large containership, sending vehicles and people into the water in what police are treating as a mass-casualty incident.

Around 20 people and multiple cars were likely to have fallen in the water, Baltimore City Fire Chief James Wallace said during a media briefing early Tuesday.

The Francis Scott Key Bridge, a big steel crossway that carries Interstate 695, was struck by a boxship at around 1:30 a.m. ET, he said.“We are still very much in an active search and rescue posture at this point and will continue to be for some time,” Wallace added.

Video from the incident shows the ship slamming into one of the bridge’s support pillars and the structure completely collapsing into the river. A police official said the case was being treated as a mass-casualty incident.

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore declared a state of emergency Tuesday morning. “We are thankful for the brave men and women who are carrying out efforts to rescue those involved and pray for everyone’s safety,” he said in a statement.

The fire department said two people had been pulled from the water with one treated for serious injuries. Multiple vehicles were on the bridge at the time of the collapse, Wallace said. Authorities were using sonar and infrared technology to determine how many cars were in the water.

Related video: Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore collapses after struck by ship; vehicles sent into water (FOX 5 Washington DC)
That’s right. Shocking video from the City of Baltimore live

Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore collapses after struck by ship; vehicles sent into water

The bridge is the entryway to the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore, the largest port in the U.S. for specialized cargo like trucks, tractors and trailers. It is also a gateway for bulk cargo like coal and petroleum products.

Some 800,000 vehicles passed through the port in 2023, moving three million tons of cargo. The collapse will have ripple effects on the port’s operations that could last for months, according to Coast Guard officials.
The Singaporean containership, called the Dali, was on its way to Sri Lanka when it struck the bridge. It remains stuck under the bridge with all crew still on board.

The ship is operated by the Singapore-based Synergy Marine Group which said that the vessel had deployed its own emergency procedure and the crew was checking for casualties in the water. All of the crew are safe, the company added.Danish container shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk said it had chartered the ship from Synergy. “We are horrified by what has happened in Baltimore, and our thoughts are with all of those affected,” Maersk said in a statement. “We are closely following the investigations.”

Box ships heading to Baltimore are likely to divert north to the Port of New York and New Jersey, or south to the Port of Virginia, which process many more containers each year and should be able to pick up the slack. About 21,000 standard, 20-foot containers pass in and out of Baltimore each week, said a shipbroker. New York and New Jersey handle more than 10 times that volume.Specialized supply chains could experience more disruption. The Domino sugar refinery, owned by ASR Group and located in the port, is one of the country’s biggest, churning raw sugar imported into Baltimore from overseas into refined sugar to be consumed in the U.S. An ASR spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.The port administration says Baltimore is the biggest port on the East Coast for handling “ro-ro,” short for roll-on-roll off and encompassing cargoes of autos, trucks, tractors and wheeled cranes. Coal, liquefied-natural gas and waste paper have ranked among the top exports from the port in recent years, while vehicles, salt, gypsum and sugar have been the biggest imports.

The main span of the bridge, which was built in 1977 and is locally referred to as the Key Bridge, is roughly 1,200 feet, making it one of the longest continuous trusses in the world, according to the State of Maryland website.

The bridge itself spans a total of 1.6 miles, but the overall structure including its approaches covers almost 11 miles.

Write to Gareth Vipers at and Costas Paris at