Skip to main content

In the early morning of Tuesday, March 26, 2024, a cargo ship lost power and rammed into a bridge in the Baltimore Harbor. The Francis Scott Key Bridge, one of the busiest bridges in the area, collapsed after the ship struck one of the support structures. This accident was life-altering for many motorists who use this bridge for daily travel.

How much damage did the Key Bridge sustain?

The massive cargo ship struck one of the bridge’s support structures, causing the entire bridge to collapse. Videos captured the event, which looks more like a house of cards falling than a major automotive throughway.

Once the ship hit the bridge structure, a section of the span came to rest on the vessel’s bow. This caused the bridge and ship to catch fire.

How many lives were lost in this accident?

Families of those who plunged into the waters below won’t take solace in the fact that the accident took place at 1:30 AM, a time when the Key Bridge is likely the least busy. Several vehicles on the 1.6-mile-long bridge fell into the frigid waters below. Rescuers pulled two people from the waters in the early morning hours. Six others are presumed dead and haven’t yet been recovered from the below. Those six still missing were part of a construction crew filling potholes on the bridge at the time of the collapse.

Did the ship crew respond to the power loss?

As reported by WECT, the ship’s crew issued a mayday call only moments before the crash. Although some vehicles fell into the waters below, this warning call enabled many authorities to limit and stop the bridge’s traffic, ultimately saving many lives.

Wreckage of the Francis Scott Key Bridge
Wreckage of the Francis Scott Key Bridge | NBC News

Those fearful of traveling over bridges can point to this event

Millions of drivers travel over thousands of bridges every day without incident, but this is an example of what could happen. The Key Bride supported more than 12 million vehicles annually, making the crossing from one side to the other. Most motorists never consider driving on a bridge a dangerous event. A as with anything else, there’s no guarantee of safety while out on the road.

The surreal scene throughout the day presented a scene you wouldn’t expect to see except if an earthquake occurred. President Joe Biden plans to visit Baltimore and expects the federal government to pay to  rebuild the Key Bridge.