The Francis Scott Key Bridge
A Maersk ship crashed onto the bridge, causing it to collapse AFP

Maryland Governor Wes Moore declared a state of emergency following the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, while authorities continue searching for survivors in the river below.

Two people have already been rescued -one in stable condition, the other in a critical state- after cars fell into the water following the crash, caused by a Maersk ship. According to Baltimore fire chief James Wallace, search crews are looking for "upwards of seven people."

"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," said Governor Moore on X during the early morning. He added that the incident was an "unthinkable tragedy."

James Wallace confirmed that several cars had fallen into the river and that his forces had deployed underwater drones, sonar and infrared surveillance tools to aid the efforts. It's still unknown how many people were on the bridge at the moment of its collapse.

Maryland Secretary of Transport Paul Wiedefeld added that there were also workers on the bridge as they were repairing concrete ducts at the moment of the incident.

The FBI quickly concluded there was no terrorist motivation for the attack.

Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott said in a news conference that "we have to first and foremost pray for all of those who are impacted, those families, and pray for our first responders and thank them, all of them, [for] working together — city, state, local — to make sure that we are working through this tragedy."

The White House also issued a response, with an official saying "our hearts go out to the families of those who remain missing as a result of this horrific incident." The official added that senior members of the Biden administration were in contact with local authorities to offer federal assistance. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said he had spoken with the governor and the mayor to offer his department's support.

The vessel that caused the crash, called Dali, had left a port in Baltimore and was headed to Sri Lanka. Shipping giant Maersk confirmed the ship was charted to transport its customers' cargo.

The ship, operated and managed by a company called Synergy Group, said the ship had "collided with one of the pillars of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, Baltimore whilst under pilotage with two pilots onboard."

It added that all its crew members were accounted for and that there were no injuries or pollution. Synergy said the exact cause of the accident still wasn't clear and that the company was cooperating with government agencies.

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