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US Bridge Collapse: Process Of Clearing Tangled Wreckage Begins

Baltimore, US:

The complex process of clearing the tangled wreckage of the Baltimore bridge that collapsed spectacularly this week was set to begin Saturday with removal of a first section, officials said.

The collapse killed six people and blocked traffic through the busy US port.

“This is the first of many, many, many steps going forward,” Maryland transportation secretary Paul Wiedefeld said at a news briefing. “But it is a huge milestone as we start this process.”

Coast Guard Rear Admiral Shannon Gilreath said a huge floating crane — capable of lifting loads of more than 100 tons — was set to move one fallen section of the Francis Scott Key Bridge. He gave no details on its dimensions.

Maryland Governor Wes Moore said the piece in question was not one of those pinning down the massive container ship Dali, which lost power Tuesday and crashed into a bridge pillar, provoking the shockingly quick collapse.

Moore said it would “take days,” but teams would eventually “open up a temporary restricted channel” allowing more tugs, barges and other boats to enter the area to accelerate the clean-up operation.

For now, shipping traffic is at a standstill, affecting thousands of shippers, port workers and others, and the thousands of people who normally use the bridge each day have had to find alternative routes.

Removing the twisted steel remnants of the bridge and freeing the Dali is a top priority for local authorities, who say the collapse could have a major impact on the regional economy for years.

“At least 8,000 workers on the docks have jobs that have been directly affected by this collapse,” Moore said.

The governor began his news conference by paying tribute to the six road workers — all Latino immigrants — who died when the bridge tumbled into the deep waters of the Patapsco River.

Two bodies have been recovered, while the four others have been declared missing and presumed dead.

Recovery efforts have been suspended, with authorities saying the water — cold, dark and filled with jagged steel and concrete debris — is for now too dangerous for divers.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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