A cargo ship collapsed the Francis Scott Key Bridge early this morning

March 26 – Just before 2 a.m. this morning, a cargo ship in the Patapsco River apparently lost power and crashed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge, destroying a large portion of the structure.  

The crew on the ship sent out a mayday distress call before impact. 

According to authorities, eight people were on the bridge when it was hit. Two people have been rescued from the water, while others are still missing. 

It’s estimated that 35,000 people use that bridge every day to connect to the Baltimore beltway. 

Former Washington DC police officer Ted Williams said, “The way this bridge was hit, you can see that this cargo ship hit one of the structural beams of that bridge that caused that collapse. This also could very well be considered a crime scene and I am sure you have crime scene investigators at that bridge collapse, trying to find out what took place.”

The Francis Scott Key Bridge has been in operation since 1977. 

Attorney Clint Barkdoll said, “This is going to be a major problem for our region, maybe even the country. I think we’ll hear more about this later today because that’s such a critical bypass there for both cargo ships and just freight in general and all of that’s now going to be detoured, if not completely delayed indefinitely. We know how all of these supply chains are so interconnected in today’s world, I’m concerned that that’s going to be now the next shoe to drop, but the ship is still sitting there. This is a ship from Singapore. It was on the way to Sri Lanka. It’s not clear what the cargo was on the ship.”

There are also reports that there may be a fuel spill related to the crash. 

Barkdoll said, “Everyone on the ship reportedly is alive. So there’s no doubt law enforcement is interviewing the people on that ship to find out what happened here and how did this happen? There are a number of cars in the water. Unfortunately, we’re likely going to hear of deaths later today because they’ve not recovered everyone in those cars. This is just a very bad situation. With a bridge like that, this is not something that’s going to be repaired and restored in a few weeks. This will take many, many months to get that bridge back up online and of course in the interim, there’s going to be all these workarounds and headaches for the cargo and the shipping industry in the US and really around the world.”

Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM pointed out, “This is a major port. It’s number seven in the US, number nine in terms of how much it brings in and brings out. I think that we’re correct in thinking this could have far reaching impacts to much of the country, especially this part of the country, as that’s where a lot of your products come in on these cargo ships and there’s just so many questions. Of course we don’t know and not to speculate but they’re still saying accident or intentional, they just don’t know. They did say that they are all on the ship. The crew is still on the ship. So they’re contained and obviously you would think all of them are going to be interviewed. They’ll be looking at communications up to and as this was happening, that should give a lot of clues as to what might have been going on. I hear one person talking about how this port operates. They don’t use tugboats to go through this bridge and they said that’s maybe a huge mistake that using tugboats could have prevented something like this. This is the longest span bridge I believe in the world and it collapsed and it just came down like dominoes. So we don’t know how long this is going to take to ever get this done.”

Barkdoll added, “This cargo ship is huge. This is not just some small cargo ship. I mean, from afar you would think this was like a huge cruise passenger ship. That’s how big this thing is. Hard to say what the damage there is, too, if there’s a fuel leak, and that ship is now compromised, which clearly it would be, that now will be a whole other problem. How do they get that out of that water? We know from when these things have happened around the world, sometimes that piece alone can take many, many weeks and all kinds of resources to get the ship out of the area.”

Jansen asked, “How much more hazardous material now is going to go over the roadways? The reason they have that waterway, it’s used primarily or often for hazardous materials. Now we’ve got to worry about how those are going to get in and out.”

Congressman John Joyce said, “What a frightening event to wake up to first thing in the morning. As you know, I trained at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. My wife, Alice, would travel to the Navy Yard in Washington, and would frequently cross that bridge. So as we watched this tragedy unfold, as we looked for the recovery, hopefully of any individuals that still might be alive after falling into the icy waters this morning. Our thoughts and prayers are with them. It’s a tragedy. We are unaware of anything at this point, except that it was an accident. But we will be eyes and ears attuned to exactly how this occurred.”