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Freezing Conditions ‘Pose a Concern’ for Rescuers amid Baltimore Bridge Collapse

The Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed in the early hours of Tuesday morning

<p>Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty</p> The Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore collapsed in the early hours of Tuesday morning

Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty

The Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore collapsed in the early hours of Tuesday morning

A search and rescue operation is currently underway for upwards of seven people after the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore on Tuesday morning.

Kevin Cartwright, director of communications of the Baltimore City Fire Department, told CNN that freezing temperatures "pose a concern” in finding those in the water after several vehicles fell into the Patapsco River amid the bridge's collapse.

"This happened at 01:30 a.m. with limited visibility so we are working aggressively, considering the environmental temperatures as well as the water temperatures to try and rescue and perhaps recover individuals," Cartwright told the outlet.

"It feels like at least about 30 degrees where I am,” Cartwright continued. “It could be slightly lower than that. And I'm sure that the water temperature is even colder ... And that can pose a concern and risk for our divers."

Two people have so far been rescued from the river, Baltimore Fire Department Chief James Wallace said during a press conference on Tuesday morning, per CNN. One of the individuals was transported to the hospital in a "very serious condition," Wallace said. The other individual was uninjured.

<p>Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty</p> The Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore collapsed in the early hours of Tuesday morning

Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty

The Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore collapsed in the early hours of Tuesday morning

Related: Baltimore Bridge Collapses After Being Struck by Cargo Ship in 'Mass Casualty' Event

Wallace added that authorities are continuing to search for upwards of seven people. “We are still very much in an active search and rescue posture at this point, and we will continue to be for some time,” he said, according to the outlet.

Along with the fire department, the U.S. Coast Guard and diving experts are also involved in the search and rescue effort.

<p>Harford County Md Fire & EMS PIO Media Page/Facebook</p> Several vehicles fell into the water following the bridge's collapse, according to authorities

Harford County Md Fire & EMS PIO Media Page/Facebook

Several vehicles fell into the water following the bridge's collapse, according to authorities

Cartwright added that the rescue teams are "methodically and safely" working to ensure the safety of "everyone operating here on the scene” in hopes of making successful progress in their search operation.

Cartwright told CNN that the collapse was a "mass casualty multi-agency incident." Cartwright also explained that there were “some cargo or retainers hanging from the bridge,” making conditions unsafe and unstable for emergency responders who are operating cautiously.

<p>Harford County Md Fire & EMS PIO Media Page/Facebook</p> A rescue operation is underway following the incident, which authorities described as a 'mass casualty' event

Harford County Md Fire & EMS PIO Media Page/Facebook

A rescue operation is underway following the incident, which authorities described as a 'mass casualty' event

“This is a dire emergency,” Cartwright told the Associated Press. “Our focus right now is trying to rescue and recover these people.”

According to a news release from the Baltimore City Office of Emergency Management, the cargo ship collided with the support beam of the bridge, which opened in 1977.

<p>Getty</p> The Francis Scott Key Bridge

Getty

The Francis Scott Key Bridge

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Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott said in a post shared on X (formerly Twitter) shortly after the incident, "I'm aware of and en route to the incident at the Key Bridge. I have been in contact with @BaltimoreFire Chief Wallace, @GovWesMoore @JohnnyOJr, and @AACoExec. Emergency personnel are on scene, and efforts are underway."

Maryland Governor Wes Moore also declared a "state of emergency" in Baltimore in a statement shared on X shortly before 5:45 a.m. local time.

"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 statement read in part.

This is a breaking news situation. This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

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