‘Best minds in the world’ working on plans for bridge’s removal

‘Best Minds In The World’ Working On Plans For Bridge’s Removal
Maryland Bridge Collapse
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By Lea Skene and Brian Witte, Associated Press

The largest crane on the US east coast was being transported to Baltimore so crews can begin removing the wreckage of the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge.

The wreckage has halted a search for four workers missing days after the disaster and blocked the city’s port from operating.


Maryland governor Wes Moore said the crane, which was arriving by barge and can lift up to 1,000 tons, will be one of at least two used to clear the channel of the twisted metal and concrete remains of the bridge and the cargo ship Dali, which hit it on Tuesday.

“The best minds in the world” are working on the plans for removal, he said.

Maryland Bridge Collapse
The container ship Dali rests against the wreckage of the Francis Scott Key Bridge on Thursday (Matt Rourke/AP)


“This is not just about Maryland,” Mr Moore said. “This is about the nation’s economy. The port handles more cars and more farm equipment than any other port in America.”

He warned of a long road to recovery but said he was grateful to US president Joe Biden’s administration for approving $60 million (€55 million) in immediate aid. The president federal government will pay the full cost of rebuilding the bridge.

“This work is not going to take hours. This work is not going to take days. This work is not going to take weeks,” Mr Moore said. “We have a very long road ahead of us.”

Officials said on Thursday that 32 members of the Army Corps of Engineers were surveying the collapse scene, and 38 Navy contractors were working on the salvage operation.


Divers recovered the bodies of two men from a pick-up truck in the Patapsco River near the bridge’s middle span on Wednesday, but officials said they have to start clearing the wreckage before anyone can reach the bodies of four other missing workers.

Maryland Bridge Collapse
People view the collapsed bridge from Fort McHenry in Baltimore (Matt Rourke/AP)

State police have said that based on sonar scans, the vehicles appear to be encased in a “superstructure” of concrete and other debris.


Federal and state officials have said the collision and collapse appeared to be an accident.

At least eight people initially went into the water when the ship struck the bridge column, and two of them were rescued Tuesday, officials said.

During the Baltimore Orioles baseball team’s opening day game on Thursday, Sergeant Paul Pastorek, Corporal Jeremy Herbert and Officer Garry Kirts of the Maryland Transportation Authority were honoured for their actions in halting bridge traffic and preventing further loss of life.

The three said in a statement that they were “proud to carry out our duties as officers of this state to save the lives that we could.”


The cargo ship Dali, which is managed by Synergy Marine Group, was headed from Baltimore to Sri Lanka. It is owned by Grace Ocean Private Ltd. and was chartered by Danish shipping giant Maersk.

Maryland Bridge Collapse
Cranes stand idle in Baltimore’s port (Matt Rourke/AP)

Synergy extended sympathies to the victims’ families in a statement Thursday.

“We deeply regret this incident and the problems it has caused for the people of Baltimore and the region’s economy that relies on this vitally important port,” Synergy said, noting that it would continue to cooperate with investigators.

Of the 21 crew members on the ship, 20 are from India, Randhir Jaiswal, the nation’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, told reporters, saying one was slightly injured and needed stitches but “all are in good shape and good health.”

Scott Cowan, president of the International Longshoremen’s Association Local 333, said the union was scrambling to help its roughly 2,400 members whose jobs are at risk of drying up until shipping can resume in the Port of Baltimore.

“If there’s no ships, there’s no work,” he said. “We’re doing everything we can.”

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