BALTIMORE (NEWSnet) – Federal and state officials were emphatic Wednesday about their plans to reopen Port of Baltimore's shipping lanes, and provide an alternative to the collapsed Key Bridge quickly.

Those statements were part of a news conference Wednesday evening with the Maryland Governor Wes Moore and other top officials.


Some of the remarks were given in Spanish, a nod to the language spoken by the families of the six who were killed. The victims were from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

Moore told the families of the victims in Spanish, “Estamos contigo, ahora y siempre” which means, “we are with you, now and always.”

The bodies of two men were found in a red pickup truck under water Wednesday, Maryland State Police Superintendent Roland L. Butler said at the press conference. Their families were notified in the afternoon.

However, Butler said given the condition of the wreckage, it is believed to no longer be safe for divers to continue a search for the four others who missing, and authorities have moved their operations officially to "salvage."

Based on sonar scans, authorities “firmly” believe the other vehicles with victims inside are encased in superstructures and concrete from the collapsed bridge, the superintendent said.

Reopening the shipping channel as soon as possible is a priority, the officials said.

Moore said the closure of the port because of the debris in the water is affecting 8,000 dock workers - in addition to spinoff impacts for manufacturing and industries that rely on the Port.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said earlier Wednesday it was too soon to estimate how long it would take to clear the collapsed bridge structure from the Patapsco River channel, which leads to the port’s main terminal.

In the meantime, officials who went on a Coast Guard-led look at the bridge scene Wednesday included Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, Maryland Governor Wes Moore, Lt. Governor Aruna Miller, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski and Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman.



Investigators also have began collecting evidence from the cargo ship crashed into a bridge support and caused its collapse.

The cargo ship that lost power and crashed into a bridge in Baltimore underwent “routine engine maintenance” in the port beforehand, the U.S. Coast Guard said Wednesday.

Capt. Michael Burns Jr. of the Maritime Center for Responsible Energy said bringing a ship into or out of ports with limited room to maneuver is “one of the most technically challenging and demanding things that we do.”

There are “few things that are scarier than a loss of power in restricted waters,” he said. And when a ship loses propulsion and steering, “then it’s really at the mercy of the wind and the current.”

The Baltimore Orioles host a home game Thursday, which is Major League Baseball’s opening day. The team canceled its fan rally Tuesday night because of the tragedy.

NEWSnet’s earlier coverage




We will continue to follow this story in the days ahead.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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