Baltimore bridge collapse caused by ship; list of other times this happened in US history

The Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore was struck by a container ship early Tuesday, causing it to collapse and send multiple vehicles into the water below.

The collapse happened after a large cargo vessel apparently hit one of the supports of the bridge around 1:30 a.m., causing it to snap and buckle.

From 1960 to 2015, 35 major bridges collapsed worldwide due to ship or barge collisions, with a total of 342 people killed, according to a 2018 report from the World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure. 

Eighteen of those collapses happened in the United States.

Here is a list of some of the most notable ones:

Sunshine Skyway Bridge (1980, 35 dead) 


9th May 1980: Debris from the Sunshine Skyway Bridge perched on the bow of the freighter Summit Venture after the vessel rammed the bridge during a thunderstorm at Tampa Bay, Florida, causing 34 deaths. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

On May 9, 1980, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge collapsed after a freighter collided with a support beam. 

The freighter was navigating through a narrow, winding shipping channel of Florida’s Tampa Bay when a sudden, blinding squall knocked out the ship’s radar. 

Thirty-five people were killed after six cars, a truck, and a Greyhound bus fell over 150 feet into the water.

The 1,200-foot bridge connected Lower Tampa Bay to St. Pete.

READ MORE: Baltimore bridge collapse echoes 1980 Sunshine Skyway Bridge disaster in Tampa Bay

Big Bayou Canot (1993, 47 dead)

Barges being pushed by a towboat in dense fog hit and displaced the Big Bayou Canot railroad bridge near Mobile, Alabama on Sept. 22, 1993.

Minutes later, an Amtrak train with 220 people aboard reached the displaced bridge and derailed, killing 47 people and injuring 103 people.

Eads Bridge (1998, 50 hurt)

The Anne Holly tow traveling through the St. Louis Harbor rammed into the center span of the Eads Bridge. Eight barges broke away. 

Three of them hit a permanently moored gambling vessel below the bridge. Fifty people suffered minor injuries.

Queen Isabella Causeway (2001, 8 dead)

A tugboat and barge struck the Queen Isabella Causeway in Port Isabel, Texas, causing a midsection of the bridge to tumble 80 feet into the bay below. 

Eight people died after motorists drove into the hole.

Interstate 40 Bridge (2002, 14 dead)

A barge hit the Interstate 40 bridge over the Arkansas River at Webbers Falls, Oklahoma, collapsing a 500-foot section of road and plunging vehicles into the water. 

Fourteen people died and 11 were injured.

Popp’s Ferry Bridge (2009)

 A vessel pushing eight barges rammed into the Popp's Ferry Bridge in Biloxi, Mississippi, resulting in a 150-foot section of the bridge collapsing into the bay.

This story was reported from Detroit. The Associated Press contributed.