A catastrophic scene unfolded in the port city of Baltimore in the United States early Tuesday morning when a 948-foot Singapore-flagged container ship smashed into the four-lane Francis Scott Key Bridge, causing a portion of it to collapse into the Patapsco River below.

The force of the impact sent cars and an unknown number of people plunging into the waters around 1:30 am. Rescue crews frantically searched for survivors, pulling out two individuals in the first few hours – one in very serious condition. 

Officials believe at least seven to twenty people may have been thrown into the river when huge sections of the 1.6-mile bridge crumpled like a mangled mass of metal. However, they cautioned that the exact number remains unclear in the chaotic hours following the catastrophic collision.

“It was something out of an action movie. It was something you never thought you’d see,” said Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, describing a scene of twisted metal shooting into the sky.

The U.S. Coast Guard immediately deployed response teams to the area for search and rescue operations after the container ship, identified as the Dali, forced the trellis bridge to collapse upwards.

President Joe Biden was briefed on the incident, though the White House stated there was no indication of nefarious intent behind the collision.

According to reports, the Dali had “lost propulsion” while departing the Port of Baltimore, with its crew notifying Maryland officials they had lost control of the massive vessel.

Work crews were on the bridge at the time it was struck, and sonar detected submerged vehicles in waters around 50 feet deep. The impact also sparked a fire on the ship itself.

The Francis Scott Key Bridge is a critical transportation artery, and its closure has already brought operations at the Port of Baltimore – one of the busiest in the nation – to a standstill.

As rescue efforts continue and authorities investigate the circumstances behind this maritime disaster, serious concerns loom about potential supply chain disruptions that could ripple across the Northeast United States in the coming days and weeks.