Crews begin removing the first piece of twisted steel from the collapsed Baltimore Bridge

BALTIMORE — Engineers worked Saturday on the complex process of cutting and lifting the first section of the panel. From twisted steel The collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed into the Patapsco River this week when a massive freighter crashed into its supports.

Sparks were seen flying from the bent and crumpled steel section in the afternoon, and a video released by authorities in the evening showed demolition crews using a cutting torch to cut through the thick beams. A Joint Incident Command statement said work was underway on the top of the north side of the collapsed building.

Workers carefully measured and cut the steel A broken bridge Before attaching the straps, it can be lifted onto a boat and floated, said Coast Guard Rear Adm. Shannon Gilreath.

Seven floating cranes — including a large crane capable of lifting 1,000 tons — along with 10 tugboats, nine barges, eight rescue vessels and five Coast Guard boats were on site in waters southeast of Baltimore.

Crews work on the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge over the Patapsco River in Maryland on Saturday.Petty Officer 3rd Class Kimberly Reeves / US Coast Guard

Each move affects what happens next, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore said, and how long it will eventually take to clear all the debris and reopen the shipping lane and blocked Baltimore Harbor.

“I can't stress enough how important the first movement of this bridge and debris is today. It's going to be a remarkably complex process,” Moore said.

Undeterred by the chilly morning weather, longtime Baltimore resident Randy Lichtenberg and others took cell phone photos or just watched in silence. Broken pieces of the bridgeIt weighs 4,000 tonnes including its steel trusses.

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“I don't want to be in that water. It's cold. It's hard work,” Lichtenberg said from Sparrows Point on the river.

The shock of watching a video of a small piece of Baltimore's skyline falling into the water led to tragedy when he woke up Tuesday morning.

“It doesn't hit you that fast. It's incredible,” Lichtenberg said.

What happens next?

One of the first goals of crews on the water is to keep a small auxiliary vessel channel open so that tugboats and other small boats can pass freely. Crews want to stabilize the site so divers can continue searching for the four missing workers, who are presumed dead.

Two more workers were rescued from the water in the hours after the bridge collapsed, and the bodies of two others were recovered from a truck that plunged into the river. They were filling potholes in the bridge, and police were able to stop traffic after the ship arrived in Mayday, so they could not get to the construction workers from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

The crew of the freighter Dally, managed by Synergy Marine Group, was on board with the debris from the bridge surrounding it, and they were safe and were being interviewed. And once the debris is removed, the ship will have to be moved out of the channel, so they continue to operate the ship.

The vessel is owned by Grace Ocean Pvt Ltd and chartered by Danish shipping company Maersk.

The collision and collapse appeared to be an accident that occurred after the ship lost power. Federal and state investigators are still trying to determine why.

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Allaying concerns about possible pollution from the accident, Adam Ortiz, the Environmental Protection Agency's mid-Atlantic regional administrator, said there was no sign of active discharge from the ship. Substances dangerous to human health.

Rebuilding

Officials are trying to figure out how to deal with the economic impact of a closed port and the severing of a major highway link. The bridge was completed in 1977 and carried Interstate 695 around Southeast Baltimore.

Maryland transportation officials plan to rebuild the bridge, promising to consider innovative designs or construction materials that could shorten a project that could take years.

President Joe Biden's administration has approved $60 million in immediate aid and pledged that the federal government will cover the full cost of rebuilding.

Shipping at the Port of Baltimore has been suspended, but the Maryland Port Authority said trucks are still being processed at marine terminals.

The loss of the 30,000-vehicle-a-day road and disruption to the port will affect not only thousands of dockworkers and passengers, but also American consumers. Impact of shipping delay. The port handles more cars and more agricultural equipment than any other US facility.

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