State of Emergency in Maryland After Baltimore Bridge Collapse

Chase Smith
By Chase Smith
March 26, 2024US News
State of Emergency in Maryland After Baltimore Bridge Collapse
A view of the Dali cargo vessel which crashed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge causing it to collapse in Baltimore, Md., on March 26, 2024. (Julia Nikhinson/Reuters)

In response to the catastrophic collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland, Gov. Wes Moore has declared a state of emergency.

“I have declared a State of Emergency here in Maryland and we are working with an interagency team to quickly deploy federal resources from the Biden Administration,” the Democrat governor, said in a press release. “We are thankful for the brave men and women who are carrying out efforts to rescue those involved and pray for everyone’s safety.”

The move was announced following an incident where a cargo ship departing from the Port of Baltimore collided with the bridge around 1:30 a.m., leading to its partial collapse.

Mr. Moore, in coordination with U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski, and the Baltimore Fire Department, have committed to a swift and thorough response to the tragedy.

The state’s priority remains the safety and rescue of individuals affected by this disaster, leveraging federal, state, and local resources to support the ongoing efforts.

Transportation Secretary Gives Updates

Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul Wiedefeld, during a press conference, detailed the initial response and the immediate steps taken following the collapse.

Emergency personnel from the Maryland Transportation Authority, the toll authority, and various federal, state, and local partners promptly responded to the incident.

At the time of the collapse, there were individuals on the bridge, including workers involved in maintenance activities, he said.

The search and rescue mission is the foremost priority, focusing on locating any survivors, whether they were on the bridge or in the water at the time of the incident.

Lieutenant Commander Erin Palmer of the U.S. Coast Guard, representing the Maryland National Capital Region, elaborated on the extensive search and rescue operations underway.

The Coast Guard, in collaboration with numerous partners and with assets including three small boats, an 87-foot patrol boat, and a helicopter from Air Station Atlantic City, is intensively searching for survivors.

The immediate aftermath of the bridge collapse has led to significant disruption, including the suspension of vessel traffic into and out of the Port of Baltimore.

Although port operations for truck transport remain open, there is a strong advisory for drivers to avoid the I-695 Southeast corridor and seek alternative routes via I-95 and I-895, Mr. Wiedefeld said. The measures are designed to ensure the safety of the public while facilitating the ongoing rescue and investigation efforts.

As investigations continue, the Coast Guard and the FBI are looking into all aspects of the incident, including the possibility of a power outage on the cargo ship before the collision.

However, Mr. Wiedefeld said it is still too early in the investigation to determine the exact cause or to speculate on the duration of the bridge and port closures as the focus remains on the search and rescue operations and ensuring the well-being of the affected families and individuals.

From The Epoch Times

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