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Baltimore bridge being cut up after ship collision

The remains of the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge lie in the Patapsco River after the container ship Dali (L) struck it on March 26, in Baltimore, Maryland. — AFP file photo
The remains of the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge lie in the Patapsco River after the container ship Dali (L) struck it on March 26, in Baltimore, Maryland. — AFP file photo
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BALTIMORE: The crumpled Baltimore bridge was being cut up in preparation for its removal, Maryland's governor said Sunday, promising "progress" was being made after it was destroyed by an out-of-control ship.


Demolition crews using blow torches sliced through the top part of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, which collapsed when the Dali cargo vessel lost power and struck it on Tuesday, killing six people.


"Progress is beginning to happen despite the fact that it's an incredibly complicated situation," said Maryland Governor Wes Moore, adding that weather conditions and debris in the water meant divers were unable to assist with the recovery operation.


"We now do have cranes, the Chesapeake 1,000, which has a capacity of lifting a thousand pounds," Moore told CNN on Sunday.


"(Workers have) begun to cut up the remnants of the bridge that we can then prepare for removal."


Video footage showed sparks flying as crews suspended in cages cut through an upper section of the steel structure.


The Unified Command said the wreckage will lifted away and processed at a Baltimore shipping site before being taken to a disposal site.


Moore said the recovery would be a "long road," adding: "This is a very complex operation, but movement is happening."


The difficult conditions have hampered efforts to recover the bodies of the six road workers -- all Latino immigrants -- who died when the bridge collapsed, with just two bodies recovered so far.


Shipping in and out of Baltimore -- one of the United States' busiest ports -- has been halted, with the waterway impassable due to the sprawling wreckage.


Moore told MSNBC on Sunday that his priorities were recovering the victims' bodies before reopening the channel.


"It's impacting the nation's economy. It's the largest port for new cars, heavy trucks, agricultural equipment. It's impacting people all over the country," he said.


The ship veered towards the bridge due to power trouble, with the pilot issuing a Mayday call that allowed some road traffic to be stopped just before the collision at 1:30am after which the structure collapsed in seconds.


"It takes a lot to make sure that it can be dismantled safely, to make sure that the vessel stays where it is supposed to be and doesn't swing out into the channel," Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told "Face the Nation" on CBS. — AFP


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