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Rescuers Searching for Multiple People amid Baltimore Bridge Collapse: 'An Unthinkable Tragedy'

The Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed in the early hours of Tuesday morning after being hit by a large container ship

<p>Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty</p> Baltimore bridge collapses after being hit by container ship.

Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty

Baltimore bridge collapses after being hit by container ship.

A search is underway for the individuals thought to have fallen into the water amid the Baltimore bridge collapse.

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed into the Patapsco River after being hit by a large container ship at around 1:30 a.m. local time.

Speaking during a press conference, Baltimore Fire Department Chief James Wallace confirmed teams are now searching for multiple individuals in the water. Two people have been rescued so far.

Wallace said, "We are still very much in an active search and rescue posture at this point and we will continue to be for some time. We have a large area that we have to search. This includes on the surface of the water, subsurface, as well as on the deck of the ship itself."

"We believe at this point we may be looking for upwards of seven individuals, that’s the latest information we have. However, what I will say is the information that I’m giving you right now is, as of right now. It’s what we know right now," Wallace added, calling it "a very large incident."

<p>Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty</p> Baltimore bridge collapses after being hit by container ship.

Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty

Baltimore bridge collapses after being hit by container ship.

"It involves a very large footprint, multiple agencies are operating, therefore, information is subject to change as we get more intel and as our crews work through the morning," the fire chief continued.

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

The container ship was a Singapore-flagged vessel and was heading to Sri Lanka, per ABC News, It struck the bridge, which opened in 1977, before a large portion of it collapsed.

<p>JIM LO SCALZO/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock</p> Rescue personnel gather on the shore of the Patapsco River

JIM LO SCALZO/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Rescue personnel gather on the shore of the Patapsco River

"Over the next 8-12 hours, you can expect to continue to see our air and maritime assets functioning in the water and in the air above. We need to do damage assessment of the ship itself before we can board that ship, and we need to continue our subsurface search which is including different types of sonar. We have side-scan sonar," Wallace said.

<p>JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty</p> Fire Department Chief James Wallace (L), Baltimore Police Commissioner Richard Worley (C) and Mayor Brandon Scott (R) speak at a press conference

JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty

Fire Department Chief James Wallace (L), Baltimore Police Commissioner Richard Worley (C) and Mayor Brandon Scott (R) speak at a press conference

"We have other sonar capabilities here. We have underwater UAV’s that we’re working with, and throughout the night we’ve also been working with infrared technology, both from the air and on the water surface," Wallace added.

Mayor of Baltimore, Brandon Scott, called the incident an "unthinkable tragedy."

"We have to first and foremost pray for all of those who are impacted, those families. I 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," he said during the press conference.

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<p>JIM LO SCALZO/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock</p> Baltimore bridge collapses after being hit by container ship.

JIM LO SCALZO/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Baltimore bridge collapses after being hit by container ship.

Scott said the focus was on the "families and people impacted" in the incident.

Baltimore County Executive, John Olszewski, added, "I think we all awoke this morning to an unspeakable tragedy. As the mayor indicated, we know there will be families and individuals impacted by this regardless of what happens the rest of the way out. So, I would just echo the mayor in lifting [some] prayers to those impacted, but also let’s pray for our first responders."

"The work that they do cannot be understated and I just want to thank them for all that they are doing and will do in the hours and days ahead," Olszewski said. "We know that we have a long road ahead, not just in the search and rescue but the fallout following this."

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