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‘Save Every Soul Possible’: Baltimore Mayor Details Search-and-Rescue Efforts After Bridge Collapse

A rescue operation is underway to find people in the water after the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge on Tuesday

<p>JIM LO SCALZO/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock</p> The Francis Key Scott Bridge collapsed in the early hours of Tuesday morning

JIM LO SCALZO/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

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

Rescue teams are focusing on retrieving as many people as they can from the water following the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse on Tuesday morning.

Speaking during a phone call with Good Morning America’s Michael Strahan after the incident, Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott said, “This is going to be an ongoing search and rescue and they will be doing that work to make sure that we can save every soul possible.”

“There were individuals on this bridge when the tragedy happened. We have our fire teams, our marine teams, our police and marine teams out there,” he continued. “Now with the sunlight coming up, we can actually put drivers in the water to try to save souls. And that’s where the focus is and will remain for us for quite some time.”

At around 1:30 a.m. local time on Tuesday, the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed into the Patapsco River after being struck by a large container ship, which was later identified as a Singapore-flagged vessel according to MarineTraffic, a ship-tracking company, per ABC News.

<p>Rob Carr/Getty</p> Rescue efforts are currently being made to find people in the water following the bridge's collapse

Rob Carr/Getty

Rescue efforts are currently being made to find people in the water following the bridge's collapse

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

Speaking during a press conference on Tuesday morning, Baltimore Fire Department Chief James Wallace confirmed that two people had been rescued from the water, per CNN. He added that authorities are continuing to search for upwards of seven people.

Scott explained that the Patapsco River contains “very cold waters” making the rescue efforts difficult. “We’re dealing with obviously the tide coming in, so it’s very windy. So we understand this is not an easy operation for them,” he continued to GMA.

While the mayor noted that the incident “didn’t happen during rush hour” he confirmed that vehicles were detected through sonar to have been on the bridge, along with individuals, at the time of the collapse.

<p>JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty</p> (L-R) Baltimore Fire Department Chief James Wallace, Police Commissioner Richard Worley and Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott

JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty

(L-R) Baltimore Fire Department Chief James Wallace, Police Commissioner Richard Worley and Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott

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

“We still don’t know how many,” Scott shared. “We will be getting that as our divers and folks are able to go into the water as part of the search and rescue.”

The mayor acknowledged that construction workers “are always” doing work on the bridge and so may be among those who fell in the water. “Everything else we will solve out and figure out as the time moves forward. But right now, we have to be focused on saving lives,” he said.

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

Getty

The Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore

Maryland State Transportation Secretary Paul Wiedefeld went on to confirm there were workers on the bridge — which is part of the Interstate 6-95 — at the time of its collapse, per CNN. "We know there were individuals on the bridge at the time of the collapse, working on the bridge, contractors for us," he said.

As for those on the 900-ft cargo ship, Scott said that they “are doing well” following the incident.

<p>JIM LO SCALZO/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock</p> A helicopter flies above the scene in Baltimore

JIM LO SCALZO/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

A helicopter flies above the scene in Baltimore

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In the press conference on Tuesday morning, Wallace said one of the individuals rescued was uninjured, while the second was transferred to the hospital in a "very serious condition," per CNN.

“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, per the outlet.

Kevin Cartwright, director of communications of the Baltimore City Fire Department, told CNN that freezing temperatures "pose a concern” in finding those remaining in the water as the search-and-rescue operation continues.

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