People And Vehicles Fall Into Water In Baltimore Bridge Collapse

Up to 20 people have reportedly fallen into the water after a cargo ship crashed into a major bridge in the US city of Baltimore.

Footage showing large section of the 1.6 mile-long Francis Scott Key Bridge falling into the Patapsco River has circulated online, with this collision taking place around 1.30am local time (5.30m UK Time). 

The footage also shows vehicles falling into the bridge, with up to 20 people reportedly in the water, according to Baltimore's fire service.

The director of communications for the Baltimore City Fire Department Kevin Cartwright, has earlier said that there were  "some cargo or retainers hanging from the bridge," leading to unsafe and unstable conditions. He added that the emergency staff were working cautiously as a result. 

"This is a dire emergency" he said. 

"sudden fault"

According to data collated from the MarineTraffic, the container ship known as the Dali, came to a halt at the bridge. They also added that the first ship known as tug Eric McAllister, arrived around at the scene almost 10 minutes later.

The second tug Bridget McAllister arrived alongside a search and rescue vessel, almost 25 minutes after the collision took place. This  operation currently involves 10 rescue boats. 

The two pilots, and all crew members have all been accounted for, with no reports of injuries, according the the container ship owners, Synergy Marine Group, who added that the exact cause of this incident has yet to be established.

CCTV footage has ascertained that the Dali container ship lost power, before adjusting its course and began smoking almost a minute before it struck the bridge.

David McFarlane, director of Maritime Risk and Safety Consultants LTD, has said that "failure in machinery or steering gear", is the most likeliest cause of this incident. 

"The first thing that springs to my mind is: was there a sudden fault with the ship's engines or the steering gear? The other, of course, is: was there a navigational error?", he said. 

McFarlane also added that there  "should be no room for one person errors" because of the number of other people on duty at the time". 

"The most likely cause of this is a failure in machinery or steering gear, but we just won't know until the authorities have been on board. And even then, they're unlikely to say what's been going on for some considerable time". 

Following this collision, all lanes along the Interstate 695, which run across the bridge, were closed and traffic rerouted. 

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