Maryland's rising star Dem governor faces first national test after Baltimore bridge collapse

Maryland’s newly elected Democratic Gov. Wes Moore, who many believe has ambitions for higher office, was thrust into the national spotlight on Tuesday and reacted to the first catastrophic event on his watch when a container ship toppled a bridge causing several deaths.

"This morning, our state is in shock and I want to take this moment to speak directly to the people of our state," Moore, who took office in January of last year, said during a press conference on Tuesday morning.

"To our first responders. I'm in awe of you. I'm in awe of all of your courage and all of your strength. I'm in awe of everything you do for each and every one of us. You saw a crisis and you said, what can I do to help? And our response teams are doing everything in our power to rescue and recover the victims of this collapse, literally, as we speak, people who, as we speak, are out there, our divers, our air assets. People right now working to save lives and are doing it because the state asked and we will update the public as the work continues."

Moore was reacting to news and video of a large container ship slamming into the Francis Scott Key Bridge in the Baltimore harbor on Monday night sending the bridge crashing into the water.

The crew of the cargo ship, originating out of India, issued a mayday in the moments before the disaster in time for authorities to stop traffic from entering the bridge, limiting the number of vehicles involved in what officials have called a "mass casualty event."

"We're thankful that between the mayday and the collapse that we had officials who were able to begin to stop the flow of traffic so more cars were not on the bridge," Moore said.

Authorities said a crew of eight construction workers were on the bridge, in addition to any traffic at the time of the collapse. It is unclear exactly how many people were killed in the accident but at least 6 people are unaccounted for after 2 were rescued from the water.

The catastrophe represents the first test where Moore’s leadership will be thrust into the national spotlight a little over a year after he won the Maryland gubernatorial primary with President Biden’s help on the campaign trail and then defeated Republican Dan Cox by over 30 points.

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