Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge devastation revealed in satellite pics

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Shocking photos show the aftermath of the dire situation in the US city of Baltimore as remnants of the Francis Scott Key Bridge are left floating in the harbour and on top of a cargo ship.

Six people remain unaccounted for after a large cargo vessel slammed into one of the supports of the 2.6km bridge at around 1.30am on Tuesday (local time).

Cars plunged 56m into the bone-chilling waters of Baltimore’s Patapsco River as officials launched a desperate rescue operation for survivors.

Maryland’s transportation secretary, Paul Wiedefeld, confirmed that the eight people on the bridge at the time were all construction workers, The US Sun reports.

The construction crew was filing in potholes moments before the bridge collapsed.

Two workers were rescued, and six remain missing.

Baltimore Fire Chief James Wallace told CNN that infra-red and sonar technology revealed that at least five vehicles are at the bottom of the Patapsco River.

Chief Wallace told the outlet that the vehicles included three passenger cars, a cement truck, and one unknown vehicle.

Container ship appears to lose power prior to colliding with bridge

“It’s the dynamic of an incident like this, operating in a space of uncertainty, it just makes things very difficult,” he told CNN.

“Add darkness to it, it becomes dangerous.”

It’s unclear if anyone was inside the vehicles when the bridge collapsed.

At least eight dive teams were in the water performing search and rescue operations.

‘Unthinkable tragedy’

Mayor Brandon Scott called the incident an “unthinkable tragedy.”

“This is a tragedy you can never imagine,” Mayor Scott said during a news conference.

“Never did you think you would see the Key Bridge tumble down like that. It looked like something out of a movie. Our focus should be the preservation of life.”

Mayor Scott said a preliminary investigation suggested the collision was an accident.

The FBI has ruled out the incident was linked to a terror attack.

Key bridge tumbles

As the sun rose in Baltimore, dramatic photos showed the bridge’s steel frame sitting atop the container ship.

Heart-pounding video captured the moment the vessel appeared to suffer power failure.

The ship’s lights flicker on and off as it travels down the Patapsco River before sticking into one of the bridge’s supports.

The vessel has since been identified as the Singapore-flagged Dali, chartered by the Danish shipping company Maersk and en route from Baltimore to the Sri Lankan city of Colombo.

The ship, which can carry 10,000 20-foot shipping containers, was involved in an incident in 2016 in the Port of Antwerp in Belgium.

In that incident, the Dali suffered damage to the stern and transom after colliding with a portion of the stone loading dock at the port.

Managers of the ship revealed they’re working with Baltimore officials to uncover what led to the crash.

“Whilst the exact cause of the incident is yet to be determined, the Dali has now mobilised its Qualified Individual Incident response team,” the company said in a statement, according to French outlet Agence France-Presse.

The ship’s management company, Synergy Marine Pte Ltd, said the crew onboard dropped its anchor before impact as part of their emergency efforts to avoid the collision.

During a Tuesday morning press conference, Governor Wes Moore said the cargo ship’s crew made a mayday call after losing propulsion ahead of the impact.

Moore said workers on the bridge stopped incoming traffic from continuing onto the bridge in a rapid response.

“These people are heroes,” the governor said.

The four-lane Francis Scott Key Bridge was an essential piece of infrastructure in Maryland, dubbed as a major milestone in the state’s transportation planning.

Construction of the bridge began in 1972 and opened for traffic on March 23, 1977.

The steel-arched bridge was considered an engineering marvel at the time.

The bridge was critical to Interstate 695, which carried north and southbound traffic around the city of Baltimore.

The structure spanned from the Patapsco River to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor out to the Chesapeake Bay.

It was also used as an alternative route to connect drivers to Washington DC and parts of Pennsylvania.

About 30,000 Marylanders cross over the Key Bridge every day, Governor Moore said.

“To hear the words ‘the Key Bridge has collapsed’ is shocking, and heartbreaking.”

The governor said reconstruction on the bridge will be a long-term build and declined to comment on when port operations will resume.

Governor Moore said the bridge was fully up to code.

President Joe Biden said the federal government will pay for the bridge repair costs.

“As I told Governor Moore, I’ve directed my team to move heaven and earth to reopen the port and rebuild the bridge, as soon as humanly possible,” the president said.

This story was published by The US Sun and was reproduced with permission