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Coast Guard, Partner Agencies, Respond to the Francis Scott Key Bridge Collapse

The Coast Guard's response to the bridge collapse demonstrates the service's vital role in protecting our nation's waterways and ensuring the safety and security of all who depend on them.
Key bridge 1
Jen Fyke Web
by Jennifer Crowley Fyke
April 3, 2024

According to a Coast Guard press release, Coast Guard watch standers at the Sector Maryland-National Capital Region command center received a report at 1:27 am on March 26 that a 948-foot container ship collided with the Francis Scott Key Bridge. A video of the incident showed the bridge collapsing, with reports of people in the water. Rescue crews from Coast Guard Station Curtis Bay and Station Annapolis rushed to the area to search for survivors, secure the scene, and investigate potential environmental impacts. An Air Station Atlantic City helicopter crew surveyed the scene from above.

Later, Admiral Linda Fagan, Commandant of the Coast Guard, viewed the response efforts alongside Maryland Governor Wes Moore, Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott, and Rear Admiral Shannon Gilreath, Commander of the Coast Guard's Fifth District.

"I offer my heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of the six individuals who lost their lives. The Coast Guard has strong ties throughout Maryland and the Baltimore community, and our sympathies are with all those impacted by this horrible incident," Fagan shared in a social media post.

Key bridge collapse overflight
A Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City MH-60 Jayhawk crew conducts an overflight assessment of the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore, Maryland, March 29, 2024. Photo illustration by Petty Officer 1st Class Brandon Giles.

A unified command and joint information center were established to coordinate response and share information. The unified command includes the Coast Guard, Army Corps of Engineers, Maryland Department of the Environment, Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA), Maryland State Police, and Synergy Marine. The coordinated effort continues to direct response operations in the area.

Admiral Fagan further shared, "This tragedy serves as a stark reminder of the Coast Guard and our partners' critical role in protecting the Marine Transportation System and responding to maritime disasters. The close coordination and support between our federal, state, and local partner agencies has been instrumental in assisting with the response efforts as part of the unified command. Thank you all for your commitment and steadfast service to our local communities in times of crisis."

As investigations into the cause of the bridge collapse continue, the Coast Guard and its partner agencies remain on high alert, maintaining a presence in the area to safeguard against further risks to public safety. The two primary concerns now are replacing the bridge structure so car traffic can resume along this vital travel route and reopening the waterway to critical traffic in and out of the Port of Baltimore.

A website with information on the incident response can be found at


In the cover photo, Admiral Linda Fagan, commandant of the Coast Guard, Vice Adm. Peter W. Gautier, deputy commandant for operations, Governor Wes Moore, governor of Maryland, and Mayor Brandon Scott, mayor of Baltimore, transit by Coast Guard boat to assess the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore, Maryland, March 29, 2024. Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Brandon Giles.

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