Coast Guard responds following Baltimore bridge collapse

by Vern Evans

The U.S. Coast Guard is coordinating with multiple partner agencies to respond to the Tuesday morning collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland, which occurred after a containership collided into the structure.

The cargo ship struck a support beam, causing the bridge to break and fall into the water, according to the Baltimore City Fire Department. The Coast Guard said there were reports of individuals in the water.

Fire Chief James Wallace said authorities “may be looking for upwards of seven people,” but said that number could change, according to The Associated Press. Rescuers pulled two people from the water by mid-morning and searched for more, the outlet said, but it was not immediately clear if the two people who were reported as rescued were included in the group cited by the fire chief.

Coast Guard watchstanders received a report that the 948-foot Singapore-flagged vessel had struck the bridge via the Coast Guard Sector Maryland-National Capital Region command center at 1:27 a.m., the agency said in a release.

Response boat crews from Coast Guard stations Curtis Bay and Annapolis deployed to the scene for active search and rescue. A Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew as well as Coast Guard investigators and pollution responders were also directed to the site of the incident.

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

Opened in March 1977, the 1.6-mile bridge crossed over the Patapsco River where Francis Scott Key was inspired to write the words of the “Star-Spangled Banner.”

Jonathan is a staff writer and editor of the Early Bird Brief newsletter for Military Times. Follow him on Twitter @lehrfeld_media

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