Huge crane arrives for cleanup – DW – 03/29/2024

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The largest crane on the east coast of the United States arrived in Baltimore on Friday to clear the wreckage of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, which collapsed when a cargo ship crashed into it.

The floating crane is able to lift a 1,000-ton load and will be joined by other, smaller cranes in the monthslong cleanup.

Meanwhile on Friday, the White House announced that US President Joe Biden will visit Baltimore next week as work gets underway to clear the debris.

The cleanup operation will likely begin by clearing the larger bridge trusses from the river before removing the bridge segments on top of the cargo ship, the Dali, so that it can be moved.

Workers will then clean up steel and concrete debris from the river bed below.

The US Army Corps of Engineers is leading the operation and has deployed more than 1,100 engineering, construction, contracting and operations specialists, as well as ships, remotely operated vehicles and sonar equipment.

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Four workers still missing

Divers have already recovered the bodies of two men from the river but four workers are still missing and are presumed dead.

Maryland Governor Wes More said finding the remaining bodies was a top priority.

“The Dali is almost as long as the Eiffel Tower, and the Dali has the Key Bridge on top of it. We’re talking 3,000 or 4,000 tons of steel that’s sitting on top of that ship, so we’ve got work to do,” Moore said at a press conference on Thursday.

The collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland
The large trusses will likely be cleared firstImage: Steve Ruark/picture alliance/AP

However, the nature of the wreckage has complicated rescue efforts.

“The divers can put their hands on that faceplate, and they can’t even see their hands,” Donald Gibbons, an instructor with Eastern Atlantic States Carpenters Technical Centers, told the Associated Press.

“So we say zero visibility. It’s very similar to locking yourself in a dark closet on a dark night and really not being able to see anything.”

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When will the channel reopen?

The channel could reopen to one-way maritime traffic once the first trusses from the bridge have been removed.

On Frida, the Maryland Port Administration said trucks were still being processed at marine terminals.

“There is a lot of speculation as to when the channel will be reopened,” the agency said.

“The fact of the matter is we do not know.”

zc/wd (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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