Do these videos show an explosion on the Francis Scott Key Bridge following a collision with a Singapore-flagged container ship?

By March 28, 2024 Crisis and Disaster

We encountered several posts on X sharing a video allegedly depicting an explosion on the Francis Scott Key Bridge (Key Bridge) in Baltimore Harbour, Maryland, US, before its collapse following a collision with a container ship.

The Key Bridge collapsed on 26 March 2024, after the Singapore-flagged container ship, the Dali, which was travelling to Sri Lanka, reportedly experienced a power failure before colliding with the bridge. 6 men who fell into the water as a result of the bridge collapse are still missing and have been presumed dead.

Media reports of the bridge collapse include a live stream video from YouTube, showing the Dali striking the bridge before it breaks apart and crashes into the water. The posts circulating on X feature a video claiming to show the same incident from a different angle. This video appears to capture the roadway on the bridge, as seen from a commuter’s perspective, with vehicles driving by before an explosion occurs.

Was there an explosion on the bridge?

We conducted reverse image searches of screenshots taken from the videos circulating on X and found that the same video was featured in news reports from October 2022 about an explosion on the Kerch Bridge in Crimea which led to its partial collapse.

A side-by-side comparison of the videos being circulated on X and videos from media outlets, such as The Guardian, that reported on the Kerch Bridge explosion confirms that the videos show the explosion that occurred on the Kerch Bridge in Crimea and not the Key Bridge in Baltimore.

Additionally, there are no credible news reports to suggest that the collision and subsequent collapse of the Key Bridge was caused by, or resulted in, an explosion.

Therefore, the assertion that the videos show an explosion on the Francis Scott Key Bridge following a collision with a Singapore-flagged container ship is false. Unrelated videos from the Kerch Bridge explosion have been shared with misleading captions claiming to show an explosion on the Key Bridge.

A developing story

As the Key Bridge collapse occurred only days ago, investigations are still ongoing to uncover the cause of the collision. According to preliminary updates by Maryland’s officials, there is no indication that the incident was caused by an act of terrorism, with US federal and state officials deeming the collision an accident.

However, despite official statements, social media users and conspiracy theorists have not been deterred from speculating about the cause of the collision, including theories of planned terrorism. Inaccurate social media posts such as those on X circulating unrelated videos fuel these narratives and enable the propagation of misinformation.

This incident serves as a timely reminder that during breaking news events, we might see a surge in falsehoods due to a lack of information. Therefore, it’s crucial to exercise diligence in verifying information before sharing to prevent the spread of misinformation.

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