Baltimore Key Bridge Collapses After Ship Crash: Live Updates

“This is an unthinkable tragedy,” Mayor Brandon Scott said.

A ship crashed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland, early Tuesday morning, causing the bridge to collapse and sending vehicles plunging into the freezing waters of the Patapsco River below.

Six construction workers who were on the bridge when it collapsed are presumed dead. Two bodies were recovered from a vehicle in the collapse site on Wednesday.

Follow along below for live updates:


Here’s What We Know So Far

  • The bodies of two workers were recovered from the water of the bridge collapse site. The victims were identified as Alejandro Hernandez Fuentes, 35, and Dorlian Ronial Castillo Cabrera, 26.

  • The vessel had undergone a routine engine maintenance check in the port. The Coast Guard says it was informed about the check but not of any problems with the vessel.

  • It is still unclear what caused the power issue on the vessel moments before its collision with the bridge.

  • Investigators have recovered a data recorder, or black box, from the ship, which will be used to collect evidence.

  • The in-water search was stopped at around 4 p.m today because divers were unable to safely navigate around the superstructure in the water, which is believed to be encasing vehicles.

  • Divers will return to the water once the superstructure is removed.

Live Coverage Concludes

Our live coverage of the Baltimore bridge collapse has concluded. Please check for further updates.

The Effects Expected From The Baltimore Bridge Collapse

The stunning collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore is expected to have rippling effects, with vessel traffic into and out of one of the busiest ports on America’s East Coast indefinitely halted, tens of thousands of people without work and traffic snarled on surrounding roadways.

State and federal officials have stressed that fully reopening the nearby Port of Baltimore and rebuilding the bridge are the top priorities, second only to efforts to recover the bodies of workers thought to have been swept into the Patapsco River.

But authorities have also acknowledged that rebuilding the bridge won’t come quickly, cheaply or easily. And they’ve declined to say how long it may be before the port fully resumes operations.

Read about some of the immediate impacts expected from the collapse:
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Baltimore Mayor Warns Against Spreading Bridge Misinformation

During a press conference on Wednesday, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott asked people to have “decency and respect” with regard to the bridge collapse and cautioned against spreading misinformation.

“I’m also asking for folks to have a little bit of decency and respect. Don't spread misinformation, don’t play bridge engineer online or in the media," Scott said. "Remember that these are people’s family members who lost their lives simply trying to make transit better for the rest of us.”

His comments come after conspiracy theories about the bridge collapse were spread by right-wing influencers on X (formerly Twitter) Tuesday, including false claims about the collision looking deliberate or orchestrated by terrorists.

Officials have determined that the collision was an accident and not an act of terrorism.

Vessel Underwent ‘Routine Engine Maintenance,’ Coast Guard Says

The ship that crashed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge underwent “routine engine maintenance” while it was in the port, U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Shannon Gilreath said in a press conference Wednesday evening.

The Coast Guard had been informed about the maintenance check but not about any problems with the vessel.

There is no confirmed answer on what caused the power issue leading up to the ship’s collision with the bridge, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore said in the press conference.

More Details On The Two Victims

The two victims whose bodies were found have been identified as Alejandro Hernandez Fuentes, 35, and Dorlian Ronial Castillo Cabrera, 26, Maryland State Police Col. Roland Butler confirmed in a press conference Wednesday evening.

Divers found the two victims trapped within a red pick up truck under 25 feet of water at around 10 a.m. local time. Fuentes and Cabrera were identified with a license and fingerprints.

The FBI was able to confirm that Fuentes was from Mexico and Cabrera was from Guatemala, Butler said. Both were construction workers for Brawler Builders.

The in-water search stopped at around 4 p.m. because the divers were no longer able to safely navigate or operate around the superstructure in the water, which Butler says is believed to be encasing the vehicles.

“Once that salvage effort takes place and that super structure is removed, those same divers are going to go back out there and bring those people closure,” Butler said. “There’s no definitive timeline on this. Please be patient, please keep the family members in mind.”

Pete Buttigieg: Possibly No Bridge In Existence Could Withstand Impact From Biggest Ships

Transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg on Wednesday said it was unclear that any bridge in existence could have withstood the impact of a modern freighter that the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore suffered earlier this week, which demolished the structure and shuttered the city’s port.

“It’s not just big as a building, it’s really as big as a block,” said Buttigieg, appearing on the podium with Coast Guard Vice Admiral Peter Gautier for the White House’s daily press briefing. “A bridge like this one, completed in the 1970s, was simply not made to withstand a direct impact on a critical support pier from a vessel that weighs about 200 million pounds, orders of magnitude bigger than cargo ships that were in service in that region at the time that bridge was first built.”

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Bodies Of Two Victims Have Been Recovered

The bodies of two people were recovered on Wednesday afternoon at the collapse site of the Francis Scott Bridge, The Baltimore Banner reported.

Two sources told the Banner that the two men were found in a vehicle and brought to shore.

How Did A Cargo Ship Send A Massive Bridge Tumbling Into The River? Experts Weigh In.

It will likely take weeks or months for federal investigators to sort out exactly what led to a container ship striking and collapsing the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland, on Tuesday. But shipping industry experts, engineers and law enforcement have started to glean information from videos, photos and accounts of the disaster.

The accident appears to have resulted from a perfect storm of mechanical failures, dated bridge design, and unfortunate timing and location.

Read more:
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President Biden Meets With Key Officials On Bridge Collapse

President Joe Biden spent part of Wednesday meeting with top officials to discuss “the coordinated federal, state and local response to the collapse” of the bridge.

According to a White House pool report, the president met with United States Coast Guard Vice Admiral Peter Gautier and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. He also spoke with General Scott Pellmon and Maryland Gov. Wes Moore.

“[Biden] reiterated that his administration will be with the people of Baltimore every step of the way,” the White House said of the president’s conversation with Moore.

Coast Guard: 'No Threat To Public' From Containers Onboard Holding Hazardous Materials

Coast Guard Vice Admiral Peter Gautier told reporters Wednesday that 56 of the 4,700 cargo containers aboard the container ship contain hazardous materials, but that they do not pose any threat to the public.

“Most of these things are, like, mineral oils, and even though they’re hazardous, we’ve determined that there really isn’t any kind of threat to the public," he said.

The “majority of those containers are closer to the pilot house and are completely unaffected by the damage to the bow of the ship,” he said.

Two additional containers that do not contain hazardous materials are missing overboard.

A specialized Coast Guard team has boarded the vessel to monitor the situation, in addition to monitoring the containers from the air.

More critically, the vessel has roughly 1.5 million gallons of fuel oil onboard, which will be closely monitored as the ship is re-floated and removed from the scene for salvage.

Following the suspension of search and rescue efforts late Tuesday, Gautier said the Coast Guard’s highest priority is now restoring the waterway so shipping can resume.

One Truck Recovered, At Least One Remains Hanging: Report

An unnamed law enforcement official told the Associated Press Wednesday they’ve recovered a truck from the water below the bridge. And at least one additional vehicle remains ensnared in the metal.

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore hailed the efforts of the recovery divers plying dangerous, frigid waters to find the six workers who were on the bridge and are presumed dead.

“They are down there in darkness where they can literally see about a foot in front of them,” he said at a press conference Wednesday. “They are trying to navigate mangled metal and they’re also in a place it is now presumed that people have lost their lives, so the work of these first responders, the work of these divers, I cannot stress enough how remarkable these individuals are.”

Right-Wingers Use Baltimore Tragedy To Boost Their Brands

Social media accounts were serving up conspiracy theories within hours of a container ship knocking down the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore on Tuesday.

Federal and local law enforcement said they suspected no foul play, but several people on X, the former Twitter, claimed that the incident looked deliberate, and that it may have been orchestrated by terrorists or shadowy foreign actors.

Read more:

Economic Impact From Port's Suspension Around $191 Million Per Day, Local Union Head Says

The economic impact from the Baltimore Port’s suspension is estimated at around $191 million per day, with thousands of people without work, according to a local union leader.

Scott Cowan, the president of the International Longshoreman’s Association Local 333 in Baltimore, told HuffPost his union’s 2,400 dockworkers are day laborers who work only when there’s cargo to be moved. He said around 17,000 to 20,000 direct jobs are expected to be impacted by the port’s suspension.

“Obviously we don’t have to wait for the bridge to get rebuilt, it’s more of the shipping channel being cleared out and I don’t know how long that’s going to take,” he said.

Cowan said they are working with state and federal officials to secure financial assistance in the meantime.

“The port’s been shut down before because of snow, wind, or rain but nothing like this,” he said, calling the situation “scary.”

“We didn’t shut down like this during the COVID pandemic. All these people affected right now were the ones moving goods during the COVID pandemic that most people were relying on getting,” he said.

Maryland Gov. Moore has also said that the harbor is responsible for $191 million of economic activity daily, according to WTOP.

Police Had About 90 Seconds To Get Traffic Off Bridge

Police had about 90 seconds to stop traffic from entering the bridge from both ways before it collapsed, according to audio obtained by the Associated Press.

One officer intended to drive out onto the bridge to get a hold of the construction crew and let them know to leave but didn't get the chance. “The whole bridge just fell down,” an officer said at the end of the recording. “Start, start whoever, everybody ... the whole bridge just collapsed.”
AP Photo/Matt Rourke

'Black Box' Data Recorder Recovered From Ship

Investigators have recovered the data recorder from the Dali ship, which is essentially the "black box," the National Transportation Safety Board's Jennifer Homendy told CNN.

“Some investigators boarded late last night to look at the engine room, the bridge and gather any sort of electronics or documentation," Homendy told CNN on Wednesday morning. She also said a team of 24 investigators is returning this morning to collect any perishable evidence.

The NTSB teams will remain on site for about five days, she told WGAL 8 News. A preliminary report should be out in about two to four weeks, but it will take one to two years for a final report.

Emergency Legislation In Works To Help Pay Port Workers

Maryland state Sen. Bill Ferguson said he and colleagues are working on an emergency bill to pay workers who are impacted by the bridge collision and port closure, Fox Baltimore reported.

The Port of Baltimore generates almost $3.3 billion in personal income, according to the state's website, with 15,330 direct jobs and 139,180 jobs connected to Port work.
AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Governor Hails Dive Teams, Says Rebuilding Bridge Is 'Imperative'

Gov. Wes Moore recognized the bravery and "heroism" of first responders continuing recovery efforts for the six people missing, while stressing it being “imperative” to rebuild the lost bridge and get the nearby Port of Baltimore back up and running again.

"I will devote every single resource to making sure that you receive closure," he said in a message early Wednesday to the family of the bridge victims as divers continued to search the river.

"I can’t stress enough the heroism of these folks. They are in frigid conditions. They are down there in darkness where they can literally see about a foot in front of them. They are trying to navigate mangled metal, and they are also in a place that they, it is now presumed, that people lost their lives,” he said at a press conference.

While Moore said the recovery remains his “top property,” he also emphasized the economic impact from the disaster.

"This port is responsible for over 51 million tons of foreign cargo. That’s the largest in the country,” he said.

"This is not just impacting Maryland, this is impacting that farmer in Kentucky. It’s impacting that auto dealer in Michigan. So it is is imperative that we get this bridge rebuilt, it is imperative that we get the Port of Baltimore back up and going, and it is not just about how we are supporting Maryland, this is about how we are supporting the American economy."

Asked about possible criminal charges being filed against the container vessel, he said it's still too early to rule anything in or out.

Advice For Commuters

The Maryland Transportation Department has issued information on road closures and rerouted traffic due to the bridge collapse. Wednesday morning commuters can expect delays. Their alerts are at this site, or on social media.

Coast Guard To Head Back Out There Wednesday Morning

The U.S. Coast Guard was set to resume their recovery efforts at 6 a.m. Wednesday morning, 7News reported.

Officials said yesterday that today they would "be in a better position to understand the dynamics of what we're dealing with."

Here’s What We Know So Far

  • The Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland, collapsed into the Patapsco River at 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday, after it was struck by a container vessel. The shocking scene was captured on video.

  • Eight workers were on the bridge at the time. One was uninjured and refused medical attention, and another was treated at a hospital and released.

  • The six missing workers are presumably dead because of the water temperature and the amount of time that has passed since the bridge collapsed, according to authorities.

  • The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search and rescue operation at around 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday and will transition to a recovery mission.

  • State and federal officials believe that the crash was an accident and not an act of terrorism.

  • The vessel had reported a power issue before crashing into the bridge and sent out a mayday call, alerting bridge workers to stop vehicles from crossing the bridge and likely saving many lives.
Key Moment

U.S. Coast Guard Is Suspending Its Search Of Six Missing People

The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search and rescue operation for the six missing people at around 7:30 p.m., CNN and The Washington Post reported.

“We do not believe that we are going to find any of these individuals still alive," Rear Adm. Shannon Gilreath said, noting water temperatures and the amount of time that has passed since the bridge collapse.

The Coast Guard had deployed boats and a helicopter to search for the missing individuals earlier on Tuesday following the near-total collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge. Gilreath said that the Coast Guard will remain at the site but is “just going to transition to a different phase.”

Maryland authorities also said that their local search and rescue operations will be suspended because changing conditions have made it dangerous for first responders and divers to be in the water, CNN reported. Surface ships are still expected to be out overnight and divers will return to the water at 6 a.m. on Wednesday.

"The last thing we want to do is put divers in the water with changing currents, low temperatures, very poor visibility, and so much metal and other an unknown objects in the water," Secretary of Maryland State Police Col. Roland L. Butler Jr. said. "All it takes is one object to strike an individual and all of a sudden we have a first responder trying to recover another first responder."

Employer Says Six Missing Employees Are Presumably Dead

Jeffrey Pritzker, executive vice president of Brawner Builders, said that their six missing employees are presumably dead because of the depth of the water and the amount of time that has passed since the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge Tuesday morning, the Associated Press reported.

A total of eight construction crew workers were on the bridge when it collapsed after being struck by a container vessel. Two people were rescued, one was uninjured and refused medical treatment, and another was taken to the hospital and released.

“This was so completely unforeseen,” Pritzker said, according to NBC News. “We don’t know what else to say. We take such great pride in safety, and we have cones and signs and lights and barriers and flaggers. But we never foresaw that the bridge would collapse.”

Authorities have not announced any deaths and there have been no confirmed reports that the bodies of the remaining six people have been recovered.

Automakers Reroute Shipments As Collapse Impacts Operations

Automakers General Motors and Ford will reroute shipments heading toward the Port of Baltimore as a result of the bridge collapse, according to multiple reports.

The port is recognized as the most prominent port in the country dedicated to auto shipping. Last year, 847,158 cars and light trucks were shipped through the port, setting a record for the 13th straight year, Maryland Governor Wes Moore (D) said in a February press release."

"We expect the situation to have minimal impact to our operations. We are working to re-route any vehicle shipments to other ports," GM said, according to Reuters.

Similarly, Ford Chief Financial Officer John Lawler told Bloomberg TV that the collapse would also impact Ford operations.

"We'll have to divert parts to other ports... It will probably lengthen the supply chain a bit," Lawler said. Ford has “already secured shipping alternatives," the company confirmed to Reuters.

Moreover, Stellantis, the company that owns Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram, is pushing for “an uninterrupted flow of vehicles” as a result of the incident, according to The New York Times.

Some automakers — including Toyota, Volkswagen Group of America, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo Group — stated that they do not expect to face significant issues in the aftermath of the collapse for various reasons, according to Reuters.

According to The New York Times, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and BMW also use the port.

“The path to normalcy will not be easy,” Pete Buttigieg, the U.S. transportation secretary, said on the topic of rerouting, according to The New York Times. “It will not be quick, and it will not be inexpensive.”

Gov. Moore Praises Coordinated Local, National Response

HuffPost's Phillip Jackson was at the scene where Maryland Gov. Wes Moore held a press conference to praise the quick local and national response to the disaster.

“Everybody has stepped up. Everybody has raised their hands to serve and i can tell you it is so deeply appreciated. It is so deeply felt,” he said.

Buttigieg: Unknown When Port May Reopen, ‘Normalcy Will Not Be Easy’

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said authorities will focus on mitigating traffic surrounding the Patapsco River and impacts on supply chains following the bridge’s collapse, though he noted the job of rebuilding “will not be easy.”

“This is no ordinary bridge. This is one of the cathedrals of American infrastructure. It has been part of the skyline of this region for longer than many of us have been alive,” he said at a press conference alongside local officials. “The path to normalcy will not be easy, it will not be quick, it will not be inexpensive, but we will rebuild together."

Buttigieg said it’s too soon to offer estimates on what it will take to reopen the nearby Port of Baltimore, which had ship traffic suspended amid ongoing search and rescue efforts in the river.

The port generates “nearly $3.3 billion in total personal income and supports 15,330 direct jobs and 139,180 jobs connected to Port work,” according to a website for the state of Maryland.

The White House in a statement said President Biden "has directed his team to work around the clock to reopen the port and rebuild the bridge as soon as humanly possible."

NTSB: Focus Is On Search And Rescue, ‘The Rest Can Wait’

The National Transportation Safety Board said its investigation into the bridge collapse is in its early stages and that the current priority is on search and rescue efforts, which outside organizations are overseeing.

“Nobody is going by a number,” NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy said Tuesday afternoon when asked how many people may still be missing in the water. “They are just looking and searching.”

Homendy said the NTSB is “standing back” to make room for the ongoing rescue efforts, and that they have not yet boarded the commercial vessel as they want to allow time for the search teams to complete their work.

“That is everyone’s main focus right now. The rest can wait,” she said.
A team of 24 NTSB personnel are meanwhile on the scene. They include experts in nautical operations, structural engineering, and highway safety, she said.

Bridge Workers Halted Car Traffic After Mayday Call, Officials Say

Workers at both ends of the bridge were able to stop vehicle traffic shortly before the collision after hearing the ship’s mayday call, according to Maryland Gov. Wes Moore (D).

“These people are heroes. They saved lives last night,” Moore said at a press conference this morning.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D) told The New York Times that while search and recovery operations were still ongoing, it did not appear that any commuter vehicles had fallen from the bridge, but rather only the missing construction workers and their vehicles.

Baltimore Congressman Calls Collapse ‘Unthinkable Horror’

U.S. Congressman Kweisi Mfume (D-Md.), whose district includes the Francis Scott Key Bridge and the Port of Baltimore, said his prayers are with the victims and those missing.

"The Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse is an unthinkable horror. We are all trying to respond accordingly,” he said in a statement. “Our prayers right now are for the missing individuals and victims of this tragedy. We thank God for the effective service of our first responders.”

Here’s What We Know So Far

  • Eight workers were on the Francis Scott Key Bridge when a container vessel struck it around 1:30 a.m. The bridge crashed into the Patapsco River in a shocking scene captured on video.
  • Six of the workers remained missing as of Tuesday afternoon. The crew was reportedly repairing potholes.
  • Two people were rescued from the water. One was taken to a hospital but has since been released. The second declined medical attention.
  • The container vessel reported a power issue immediately before its collision, and issued a mayday call, which Maryland’s governor said likely saved lives.
  • The incident is believed to be an accident and not related to terrorism, state and federal officials said.
  • President Joe Biden said the federal government intends to “pay for the entire cost to repair that bridge.”
  • The National Transportation Safety Board was set to hold a press conference at 2:30 p.m. ET.

New Details About Crew Working On Bridge

A construction worker familiar with the crew working on Key Bridge at the time of collapse told The Baltimore Banner that the men are from across Central America and had moved to Baltimore to support their families.“They are all hard-working, humble men,” said Jesus Campos, who told the outlet that he worked for contractor Brawner Builders, and had previously worked the overnight shift on Key Bridge.

Eight members of the construction crew were thought to have fallen in the water when the bridge collapsed. Two have since been rescued.

Biden Pledges Funds To Rebuild Bridge, Support Port Workers

President Joe Biden, speaking at a press conference from North Carolina on Tuesday, pledged federal funding to rebuild Key Bridge, clear the busy channel of debris and support port workers.

"Fifteen thousand jobs depend on that port, and we're gonna do everything we can to ... help those workers," he said, adding, "It’s my intention that the federal government will pay for the entire cost to repair that bridge."

The president said he intends to visit Baltimore, and has already spoken to state and local officials to begin the process of rebuilding one of the nation's largest shipping hubs.

"We’re with you, and we’re gonna stay with you as long as it takes," he said. "You’re Maryland tough, you’re Baltimore strong, you’re gonna get through this and I promise we’re not leaving."

The Dali Was Reportedly Involved In Another Collision In 2016

The ship that crashed into the Key Bridge was involved in a collision in Antwerp, Belgium, in 2016, the Guardian reported.

Several meters of the hull were damaged as it scraped the side of the quay when pulling out of the container terminal. The ship was detained by local authorities but there were no injuries.

A spokesman for the Port of Antwerp confirmed to Business Insider that the crash did happen but didn't specify a reason.

Biden Expected To Comment On Bridge

President Joe Biden is scheduled to head to Raleigh, North Carolina, this afternoon but will comment on the bridge collapse before then, according to Bloomberg News White House reporter Jennifer Jacobs. He was briefed on the situation earlier and has been receiving updates.

He is also reportedly looking at ways to unlock recovery funds for the bridge from his signature infrastructure bill.

More About The Ship And Crew

Danish shipping giant Maersk confirmed earlier that it had chartered the Dali ship. It said that the ship was carrying Maersk customers' cargo but had no staff from the company on board.

“We are horrified by what has happened in Baltimore, and our thoughts are with all of those affected," the company said in a statement.

Maersk said the ship was being operated by charter company Synergy Marine Group. In its own statement, Synergy Marine said that the 22 crew aboard, including two pilots, were all accounted for and no injuries were reported.

Ship Sent Out Mayday Call Before Crashing Into Baltimore Bridge

The ship sent out a mayday call when it experienced a power cut prior to the crash, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore said at a press conference. The call allowed officials to stop vehicles from entering the bridge before the crash, which likely saved lives.

Local State Of Emergency Declared By Baltimore Mayor

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott has declared a local state of emergency following the collapse.
The order went into effect at 9 a.m. EST and will remain in effect for 30 days, with it possible to be renewed at a later date or cancelled.
Scott’s order follows Maryland Gov. Wes Moore declaring a state of emergency earlier in the morning.

6 People Missing Believed To Be Bridge Workers: Officials

The six people believed missing following the early morning collapse were members of a bridge construction crew, officials said at a press conference.

The crew was reportedly on the bridge repairing potholes. Their work had nothing to do with the structure of the bridge, which was up to code, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore said alongside federal and state officials.
“The preliminary investigation points to an accident,” Moore said. “We haven’t seen any credible evidence of a terror attack.”

FBI: No Suggestion Of Terrorism

The FBI's Baltimore field office said in a statement that there is no indication that terrorism was a factor in the ship crash, reiterating what city officials said at an earlier press conference.

White House Briefied On Collapse

President Joe Biden has been briefed on the collapse of Key Bridge and the ongoing search and rescue efforts in Baltimore, according to the White House.
“He will continue to receive updates from his team throughout the day,” the White House said in a statement.

What We Know So Far About The Bridge Collapse

Two people have been rescued from the water after the Francis Scott Key bridge collapsed early Tuesday. One person declined treatment and was uninjured. The other was taken to a trauma center and was in "very serious condition," the Baltimore City Fire Department police chief said.

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