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Francis Scott Key

Largest crane on US east coast to be used to clear Baltimore bridge collapse wreckage

Maryland has been provided with $60 million (€55.6 million) in immediate aid to help with the clean-up and rebuilding operation.

THE LARGEST CRANE on the US east coast is 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.

This is not just about Maryland. 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 President Joe Biden’s administration for approving $60 million (€55.6 million) in immediate aid. The 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,” Moore said.

We have a very long road ahead of us.

Officials said yesterday 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.

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

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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.

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.

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.

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