Crews at the Baltimore bridge collapse continue meticulous work to remove twisted steel and concrete.

Baltimore, Maryland –

As divers helped crews with the complicated and painstaking operation of removing steel and concrete from the fallen Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, some near the site took time on Easter Sunday to reflect on the six workers who allegedly died. They had rushed towards death.

As cranes were periodically moved into place and workers measured and cut steel in preparation for lifting sections of twisted steel, the Rev. Ako Walker celebrated a mass in Spanish at the Sacred Heart of Jesus, about 8 kilometers (5 miles) away. upstream of the Patapsco River. collapse.

“Yes, we can rebuild a bridge, but we have to look at the way migrant workers are treated and how best to improve their situation when they arrive in the United States of America,” Walker said of the men who were from Mexico. , Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador and were filling potholes.

Dive teams were in the river Sunday inspecting parts of the bridge underwater and checking the boat to make sure it can float safely once the wreckage is raised. Elevator workers previously used blowtorches to cut away parts of the twisted steel superstructure sticking out of the water.

The bridge fell early Tuesday morning when the crew of the freighter Dali lost power and control. They called for a mayday, which gave enough time for police to stop vehicles from going onto the bridge, but not enough to remove a team of eight workers from the structure.

Two workers survived, two bodies were found in a submerged van and four more men are presumed dead. Weather conditions and tangled debris underwater have made it too dangerous for divers to search for their bodies.

Each part of the bridge removed from the water will be lifted onto a barge and floated downstream to the Tradepoint Atlantic logistics center, where it will be inspected, said Coast Guard Rear Adm. Shannon Gilreath.

Everything salvage crews do affects what happens next and, ultimately, how long it will take to clear all the debris and reopen the shipping channel and the blocked Baltimore port, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore said.

It may also alter the course of the National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation, which Moore said is important to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

“We need to have answers about what happened. We need to know who should be responsible for this. And we need to make sure that we hold them accountable,” Moore said Sunday on CNN.

The crew of the Dali, which is as long as the Eiffel Tower is tall, remains aboard the ship. The ship is trapped between 3,000 and 4,000 tons of debris. Most of her containers remain intact, but some were opened or knocked over by falling debris.

The Dali is managed by Synergy Marine Group and owned by Grace Ocean Private Ltd. Danish shipping giant Maersk mapped the Dali, which was leaving port when it collided with the bridge’s support column.

Barges with cranes float near a damaged section of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, Friday, March 29, 2024, in Baltimore, Maryland (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

In addition to clearing the shipping channel to reopen the port, officials are trying to figure out how to rebuild the main bridge, which was completed in 1977 and carried Interstate 695 around southeast Baltimore and was a vital link to centuries of maritime culture. from the city.

It took five years to build the original bridge. President Joe Biden’s administration has promised to pay the full cost of rebuilding, and state and federal transportation officials said they will work as quickly as possible.

But it cannot yet be determined exactly how long construction of the new bridge will take. Engineers have not been able to assess the condition of the ramps and smaller bridges leading to the collapsed structure to get a full idea of ​​what needs to be done.

Congress is expected to consider relief packages to help people who lose jobs or businesses due to the prolonged closure of the Port of Baltimore. The port handles more automobiles and farm equipment than any other American facility.

“This is important for people in rural North Carolina, Kansas and Iowa. This is important for the global economy. And it shouldn’t be something that has anything to do with the party. “We’re talking about an American tragedy for an American city,” Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott told CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday. On Monday, the Small Business Administration will open a center in Dundalk, Maryland, to help small businesses obtain loans to help with losses caused by the disruption of the bridge collapse.

The workers were not parishioners of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, whose pews were full on Sunday for mass. But his pastor, Walker, reached out to the families because, as he said, the Latino community in Baltimore is large but closely connected.

He said in an interview before Mass that they were good men who worked not only for their families in the United States but also for their relatives in their countries.

Walker hopes her stories encourage people to embrace migrant workers who want to improve their lives and grow their communities.

“We must be bridges for each other even in the most difficult situations. Our lives must be small bridges of mercy, of hope, of togetherness and of community building,” Walker said.

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