Crews are working at the site of the bridge collapse to remove the first piece of debris – Top Stories (Trending Perfect)

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Crews in Baltimore on Saturday were working to pry the first piece of debris from the water after the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed, a tangible sign of progress in the arduous effort to reopen the busy waterway.

Adm. Shannon Gilreath of the US Coast Guard said in a news conference that his crew was aiming to raise the first section of the bridge “just north of that deep shipping channel.” “Much like when you run a marathon, you have to take the first few steps,” he added.

The bridge was a vital link to one of the largest ports in the United States, and the collapse is costing the region and the state millions of dollars the longer it is out of operation. Maryland Governor Wes Moore said more than 8,000 dockworkers were directly affected.

Mr Moore said cutting and removing the northern sections of the bridge “will allow us to eventually open a temporary restricted channel which will help us immerse more ships in the waters around the collapse site”.

Officials supervising the cleanup operation added on Saturday that rescue teams will use gas-operated breakers to systematically separate parts of the steel bridge, which will then be transported to the disposal site.

The work was carried out less than a week after a giant container ship known as the Daly suffered a complete power outage and collided with the bridge, killing six construction workers and causing the bridge to fall into the Patapsco River.

The remains of two of the men were recovered, but the search for others presumed dead ended after officials concluded that conditions were too dangerous for divers to attempt to find them.

Mr. Moore said on Saturday that officials had not forgotten to search for the missing victims, all of whom were migrants from Mexico and Central America. The relevant authorities assured him that “as soon as these conditions change, these rescue divers will return directly to the water.”

The disaster cast a particularly dark shadow over the growing Hispanic community in and around Baltimore, where communities like Highlandtown, Dundalk and Glen Burnie were transformed by waves of immigrants from Latin America. All the victims undertook the often perilous task of repairing potholes and maintaining the bridge.

Authorities, relatives and advocacy groups serving the Latino community have identified at least five of the victims: Jose Lopez, who was in his 30s; Alejandro Hernandez Fuentes, 35, of Baltimore; Dorlean Ronial Castillo Cabrera, 26, of Dundalk, Md.; Miguel Luna, in his 40s, from El Salvador; and Minor Yasser Suazo Sandoval, who is in his 30s and from Honduras.

The bodies of Mr. Fuentes and Mr. Cabrera were recovered on Wednesday, authorities said.

Mr. Moore took time on Saturday to address the families of the victims in Spanish. “They are in our hearts. They are in our thoughts today and forever.”

Standing not far from the wreckage, Mr. Moore reiterated Saturday that state and federal officials face a long road to recovery. But he said that at least 377 people were working as part of the recovery operation, and that the pace of the project around the clock would increase in the coming days.

He added: “We will move as quickly as possible.”

Anna Bates Contributed to reports.

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