State of Emergency Declared, “Up to 20” Missing After Baltimore Bridge Collapse

United States Military Academy and American Military University Alumni. Victor covers flash military, intelligence, and geo-political updates.

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Update (0924 EST):

According to the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and the US FAA, flight restrictions and port restrictions have been placed on the port of Baltimore until further notice. Authorities have reported that the Dali lost propulsion upon leaving port. This pause in port operations has stranded ten commercial vessels waiting at anchor. According the emergency officials, sonar indicates there are several vehicles underwater; only two people have been rescued from the water so far as survivability chances are nearing 0% due to the water temperatures.

Update (0637 EST):

The Biden Administration has reported that there was no nefarious intent in the bridge strike and subsequent collapse. Two people have been rescued from the water, with one having sustained serious injuries. A press conference from Baltimore city officials is scheduled at around 0700 EST.

As this publication reported earlier this morning, a cargo vessel struck the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland at approximately 0211 EST. Moment after being struck, the bridge collapsed, plunging dozens into the Patapsco River south of Baltimore. As of this publication, the Baltimore Fire Department has reported that “up to 20” people went into the water. Rescue operations are still ongoing and this is developing.

Initially, seven construction workers were reported missing as the spans they were working on plunged into the river. Traffic immediately began piling up on the heavy city artery and all lanes were closed in both directions on Interstate 695. As of this publication it seems that traffic was stopped along the bridge moments before the collapse, thus ensuring few passenger vehciles were on the bridge at the time of the collapse.

However, as of this publication, three passenger vehicles have still been listed as unaccounted for by local media. By 0320 EST, the Baltimore Fire Department confirmed that seven people and an unknown number of passenger vehicles were missing, but it has since updated that number to “up to 20”. The Baltimore Fire Department also designated the incident as a Level I Mass Casualty Incident. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is on scene as well as several other agencies.

By 0254 EST, the Singapore-flagged container ship, Dali, was confirmed as the vessel that struck the bridge. The vessel has reportedly been on the wrong heading, via Marine Traffic, when it has struck the bridge. As of this publication she has suffered a hull breach and was reportedly leaking diesel into the Patapsco River. Synergy Marine Group, the Dali’s operating company has confirmed the incident. Maersk has also confirmed that Dali was carrying its cargo during the incident. The video above shows the Dali maneuvering erratically before striking the bridge.

At 0551 EST, Maryland Governor Moore declared a State of Emergency with Transportation Secretary Buttigieg offering his support and condolences. This bridge was one of the few established HAZMAT vehicle routes as they are not authorized to transit any of the tunnels in and around Baltimore. That traffic has been severely hindered and is currently being rerouted as of this publication.

The Francis Scott Key Bridge, known originally as the Outer Harbor Crossing was a steel arch-shaped continuous through truss bridge spanning the lower Patapsco River and outer Baltimore Harbor / Port carrying Maryland Route 695 in Baltimore, Maryland, United States. The main span of 1,200 feet was the third longest span of any continuous truss in the world. It was the longest bridge in the Baltimore metropolitan area. The bridge was 8,636 feet (2,632 m) long and carried an estimated 11.5 million vehicles annually. It was a designated hazardous materials truck route, as HAZMATs are prohibited in the Baltimore Harbor and Fort McHenry tunnels.