March 26, 2024 - Baltimore Key Bridge collapses after ship collision

By Helen Regan, Kathleen Magramo, Antoinette Radford, Alisha Ebrahimji, Maureen Chowdhury, Rachel Ramirez, Elise Hammond, Aditi Sangal, Tori B. Powell, Piper Hudspeth Blackburn and Kathleen Magramo, CNN

Updated 2:04 a.m. ET, March 27, 2024
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10:40 a.m. ET, March 26, 2024

Ship lights flickered and veered off course shortly before Baltimore bridge hit, CNN analysis shows   

From CNN’s Allegra Goodwin in London

A view of the Dali cargo vessel which crashed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge causing it to collapse in Baltimore, Maryland, on March 26.
A view of the Dali cargo vessel which crashed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge causing it to collapse in Baltimore, Maryland, on March 26. Julia Nikhinson/Reuters

The Singaporean-flagged cargo ship that struck the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore Tuesday altered course and veered toward a pillar shortly before impact, a CNN analysis of MarineTraffic ship-tracking data confirms.  

It’s unclear what caused the ship to crash into the bridge or why its lights were flickering. CNN has reached out to the National Transportation Safety Board to inquire about a possible power failure. 

The container ship DALI, which was en route to Colombo, Sri Lanka, begins to change course toward the bridge’s pillar at 1:26 a.m. local time, striking the bridge at 1:28 a.m. ET, according to MarineTraffic data and video from the scene. Video from 1:25 a.m. ET shows a plume of dark smoke billowing from the ship. DALI's lights flicker at least twice before the incident.  

In video, as it navigates down the Patapsco River, the ship’s lights can be seen going out at 1:24 a.m. ET, before turning back on, and then flickering off and on again between 1:26 a.m. ET and 1.27 a.m. ET, just before it hits the bridge.  

10:03 a.m. ET, March 26, 2024

Maryland transportation secretary says contractors were working on bridge at time of collapse

From CNN's Antoinette Radford

Maryland State Transportation Secretary Paul Wiedefeld told reporters there were workers on the Francis Scott Key Bridge at the time of its collapse.

"We know there were individuals on the bridge at the time of the collapse, working on the bridge, contractors for us," he said at a news conference Tuesday morning.

Wiedefeld said the workers were "basically doing some concrete deck repair," but said they did not know how many vehicles were involved.

He added that the transport authority has set up a facility for family members of those who were believed to be on the bridge at the time of its collapse.

7:21 a.m. ET, March 26, 2024

Baltimore fire chief: Sonar has detected the presence of vehicles submerged in the water

From CNN's Antoinette Radford

A helicopter flies over the scene of the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore, Maryland, on March 26.
A helicopter flies over the scene of the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore, Maryland, on March 26. Julia Nikhinson/Reuters

Baltimore Fire Chief James Wallace says authorities have detected vehicles submerged in the water.

“Our sonar has detected the presence of vehicles submerged in the water,” said Wallace at a news conference on the collapse of Francis Scott Key Bridge. “I don't have a count of that yet.”

He said emergency services are using sonar, drones and infrared technology as a part of their search for people and vehicles who may have fallen from the Key Bridge into the Patapsco River.

7:06 a.m. ET, March 26, 2024

No indication of "terrorism" or intent in Baltimore bridge collapse, police chief says

From CNN’s Andy Rose

Baltimore Police Commissioner Richard Worley, with Mayor Brandon Scott, right, and Fire Department Chief James Wallace, left, speaks at a press conference on the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge Baltimore, Maryland, on March 26.
Baltimore Police Commissioner Richard Worley, with Mayor Brandon Scott, right, and Fire Department Chief James Wallace, left, speaks at a press conference on the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge Baltimore, Maryland, on March 26. Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Baltimore Police said there was no evidence that the ship collision that caused the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge was intentional.

“There is absolutely no indication that there's any terrorism, that this was done on purpose,” Chief Richard Worley said at a news conference.

The FBI said that it was joining the investigation into the cause of the collision.

Rescue crews have determined there are vehicles in the Patapsco River following the bridge collapse.

“Our sonar has detected the presence of vehicles submerged in the water,” said Fire Chief James Wallace. “I don't have a count of that yet.”

Wallace said they are waiting to make sure that the ship is secure and stable before investigators board it.

“Never would you think that you would see, physically see, the Key Bridge tumble down like that,” Mayor Brandon M. Scott said.

“It looked like something out of an action movie.”
8:07 a.m. ET, March 26, 2024

Cruises, cars and commodities: What to know about the Port of Baltimore

From CNN's Mark Thompson and Hanna Ziady

In this aerial image cargo containers are readied for transport at the Port of Baltimore in Baltimore, Maryland, on October 14, 2021.
In this aerial image cargo containers are readied for transport at the Port of Baltimore in Baltimore, Maryland, on October 14, 2021. Brendan Smialowsk/AFP/Getty Images

The collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge over the Patapsco River outside the Port of Baltimore threatens to disrupt shipping operations at a major US trade hub for autos, container traffic and commodities. Baltimore also has a cruise terminal.

Closer to the Midwest than any other port on the East Coast, Baltimore ranks first in the United States for autos and light trucks, handling a record 850,000 vehicles last year. It was also the leading port for farming and construction machinery, as well as imported sugar and gypsum. It was second in the country for exporting coal.

Overall, Baltimore ranks as the 9th biggest US port for international cargo, handling a record 52.3 million tons, valued at $80.8 billion in 2023.

“The immediate focus is the rescue operation, but there will clearly be a highly-complex recovery phase and investigation to follow and we don't know what impact this will have on operations at the Port of Baltimore," said Emily Stausbøll, market analyst at Norway-based shipping analytics company Xeneta.

“While Baltimore is not one of the largest US East Coast ports, it still imports and exports more than one million containers each year so there is the potential for this to cause significant disruption to supply chains," she added.

Baltimore's cruise terminal serves ships operated by Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Norwegian. Cruises carrying more than 444,000 passengers departed from the port last year.

According to the Maryland state government, the port supports 15,330 direct jobs and 139,180 jobs in related services.

6:45 a.m. ET, March 26, 2024

Rescue crews looking for at least seven people in Baltimore bridge collapse

From CNN’s Andy Rose

Rescue operations are underway near the wreckage of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, as crews look for people who fell into the Patapsco River.

“We believe at this point we may be looking for upwards of seven individuals,” said Baltimore Fire Chief James Wallace in a Tuesday morning press conference.

“We are still very much in an active search and rescue posture at this point, and we will continue to be for some time,” Wallace added.

Baltimore Fire says two people have been rescued from the river – one who was uninjured, and another in hospitalized “very serious condition.”

“This is an unthinkable tragedy,” Mayor Brandon Scott said. “We have to first and foremost pray for all of those impacted.”

7:04 a.m. ET, March 26, 2024

Ship that collided with Baltimore bridge was chartered by Danish shipping company Maersk 

From CNN's Alex Stambaugh in Hong Kong

The Dali container vessel after striking the Francis Scott Key Bridge that collapsed into the Patapsco River in Baltimore, Maryland, US, on March 26.
The Dali container vessel after striking the Francis Scott Key Bridge that collapsed into the Patapsco River in Baltimore, Maryland, US, on March 26. Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The container ship that collided with the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore on Tuesday was chartered by Maersk and carrying their customers' cargo, the Danish shipping company told CNN.

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

The company, which has a full name of A.P. Moller - Maersk, said no company crew and personnel were onboard the vessel. It said the ship, DALI, is operated by charter vessel company Synergy Group. 

"We are closely following the investigations conducted by authorities and Synergy, and we will do our utmost to keep our customers informed," the statement said. 

CNN is attempting to contact the owner and managers of the ship, including Synergy.

6:53 a.m. ET, March 26, 2024

FBI Baltimore on the scene at the Key Bridge

FBI Baltimore personnel are on the scene at the Francis Scott Key Bridge, they have said in a post on X.

The agency said it was working "side by side with our local, state and federal partners."

6:49 a.m. ET, March 26, 2024

Baltimore fire emergency chief says 2 people saved from water after Key Bridge collapse

From CNN's Antoinette Radford

The Baltimore Fire Department Chief James Wallace says authorities rescued two people from the water this morning, one without injury and the other who has been transferred to hospital in a serious condition.

Authorities are continuing their search for upwards of seven people, Wallace says. But, he says that number could change as it is a "very large incident." Earlier on Tuesday, an official said as many as 20 people could be in the water.

"We are still very much in an active search and rescue posture at this point," Wallace said.

Wallace added that the crew remains on board the ship, and are communicating with the US Coast Guard. He added that emergency services are looking into reports that there were workers on the bridge at the time of the incident.

Speaking at the press conference, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott also described the incident as an “unthinkable tragedy,” and offered his prayers for all those affected, as well as his thanks to first responders.