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Engineers begin removing Baltimore Key Bridge’s mangled wreckage | Baltimore bridge collapse

Engineers removed the destroyed remains of the Francis Scott Key Bridge from the Patapsco River outside Baltimore as federal and Maryland officials stressed Sunday that the health of the nation’s economy depends on it. The dangerous and complicated task of removing it began.

Officials took to Sunday’s political talk show to praise the emergency teams now assembled in Patapsco, which have begun the delicate process of cutting and lifting pieces of steel from the destroyed north side of the bridge. Maryland Governor Wes Moore said the operation was extremely complex.

“A ship almost the size of the Eiffel Tower is currently stuck in the Channel, with the Key Bridge on top of it,” he told CNN’s State of the Union. He added that the bridge collapse, which occurred six days ago when the 985-foot cargo ship Dali lost power and crashed into a structure, was not a local but a national economic disaster.

“This port is one of the busiest in the country. This will impact farmers in Kentucky, car dealers in Ohio and restaurant owners in Tennessee,” he said.

It is estimated that approximately 15,000 people directly depend on the Port of Baltimore for their livelihoods, and an additional 140,000 jobs are indirectly affected. The port handles more car and light truck shipments than any other port in the United States and is also a major hub for agricultural machinery.

Last year, cargo containers over 1 meter in length passed through. This equates to more than 50 million tons of foreign cargo, worth about $80 billion.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg could not give CBS News’ Face the Nation a timeline for removing or rebuilding the damaged bridge. He noted that the original bridge took about five years to build, but there is no indication of how long it will take to replace it.

Buttigieg said the Biden administration may have to ask Congress to approve federal funds, which are expected to cover up to 90% of recovery costs. So far, only $60 million has been provided from the Federal Highway Administration’s emergency pot.

Asked by CBS News why skeptical lawmakers should vote for what promises to be a multi-million dollar project, Buttigieg said: And this has historically been bipartisan. ”

James Clyburn, an influential Democratic congressman from South Carolina, made that point on NBC’s Meet the Press. “The reality is that all of us, every state across America, all 50 countries, are going to need this kind of assistance in turn,” he said.

Clyburn added, “It could be a gusty storm in some places, it could be a flood, or it could be a hurricane in this part of the country. We all have some kind of disaster at some point.”

Rescue efforts took another step forward with the arrival of a giant crane capable of lifting 1,000 tons, and six other floating cranes also arriving at the disaster site.according to Associated Pressthe cleanup team now also includes 10 tugboats, nine barges, and eight salvage vessels.

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Emergency personnel’s first priority is to respond to the human tragedy of a bridge collapse. Eight construction workers were working on the bridge early Tuesday morning when the disaster occurred. Only two of them survived.

The bodies of two workers, Alejandro Hernández Fuentes and Dorrian Ronial Castillo Cabrera, who were trapped underwater in their car, were recovered. The other four workers believed to have died have not yet been found.

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott told CBS News’ Face the Nation that a fund set up to support the families of those who died has totaled more than $300,000. “We will support them through this period, and that may mean continuing trauma care in the future,” he said.

Beyond the lives lost, the main structural priority at the site of the collapsed bridge is first to clear the waterway to allow small boats to enter and exit the harbour. The main goal of allowing large ships to enter and exit is expected to take longer.

Part of the wreckage is submerged in the water, and murky waters are hampering recovery efforts. Sunken metal beams also increase the risk of work.