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6 people missing after container ship rams into US bridge drowning people and cars (video)

A container ship lost power and hit a major bridge in Baltimore, USA early Tuesday, causing it to snap and plunge into the river below.

As the bridge fell, several vehicles fell into the chilly waters, and rescuers are still searching for survivors as at press time.

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, Maryland’s governor said.

The ship struck one of the bridge’s supports, causing the structure to collapse like a toy. The vessel caught fire, and thick, black smoke billowed out of it. Six people are still missing.

With the ship barreling toward the bridge at “a very, very rapid speed,” authorities had just enough time to stop cars from coming over the bridge, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore said.

“These people are heroes,” 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 (2.6 km) and was used by 12 million vehicles last year.

The six people still unaccounted for were part of a construction crew filling potholes on the bridge, said Paul Wiedefeld, the state’s transportation secretary.

Rescuers pulled two people out of the water. One person who was treated at a hospital was discharged hours later.

Multiple vehicles also went into the water, although authorities did not believe anyone was inside.

“It looked like something out of an action movie,” said Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, calling it “an unthinkable tragedy.”

A police dispatcher put out a call just before the collapse saying a ship had lost its steering and asked officers to stop all traffic, according to Maryland Transportation Authority first responder radio traffic.

One officer who stopped traffic radioed that he was going to drive onto the bridge to alert the construction crew. But seconds later, a frantic officer said: “The whole bridge just fell down. Start, start whoever, everybody … the whole bridge just collapsed.”

From 1960 to 2015, there were 35 major bridge collapses worldwide due to ship or barge collision, according to the World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure.

“Losing this bridge will devastate the entire area, as well as the entire East Coast,” Maryland state Sen. Johnny Ray Salling said.

 

Authorities said sonar had detected vehicles in the water, which is about 50 feet (15 meters) deep. The water temperature was about 47 degrees Fahrenheit (8 degrees Celsius) before dawn Tuesday, according to a buoy that collects data for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.



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About Alex Itoro

Music and movie pundit

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