Police divers proceed to research the collapse of Baltimore’s Key Bridge — regardless that visibility within the water is extraordinarily poor.

The mission is daunting on the website of the lethal collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland, as crews should take away 50,000 tons of particles.

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Police divers at Baltimore bridge collapse wrestle with ‘zero visibility’ underwater

Nonetheless, police divers are there persevering with an investigation into the collapse.

Visibility below the water is extraordinarily poor, nevertheless.

“Best case state of affairs is you would possibly have the ability to see eight inches in entrance of your face,” mentioned Maryland State Police Cpl. Lyle German, who’s with the division’s underwater restoration crew. “Worst case state of affairs, it’s like sporting a type of sleep masks, and you’ve got zero visibility.”

The divers put on chrome steel helmets for defense as they swim round twisted metallic and concrete.

They don’t have scuba tanks. Instead, they breath by way of a tube that goes proper as much as the floor, permitting them to remain down for so long as they want.

“We practice for this,” mentioned Maryland State Police Detective Sgt. Justin Updegraff, the commander of the underwater restoration crew. “More occasions than not, the divers will truly shut their eyes as a result of they’ll’t see.”

Updegraff mentioned the divers “transfer their arms left and proper like a windshield wiper.”

“We practice like that in a pool, placing them in blacked-out masks,” Updegraff mentioned.

German mentioned it’s just like somebody messing up your room, turning the lights off after which telling you to discover a particular merchandise.

And utilizing a flashlight doesn’t assist.

Multiple companies are understanding of the bridge cleanup command middle in Baltimore. (WTOP/Nick Iannelli)

“Have you ever pushed by way of a snowstorm and put your brights on?” German requested. “It doesn’t assist in any respect — there are a number of particulates down there.”

The Maryland State Police dive crew is working alongside quite a few companies at a command middle that’s been established on the cruise terminal in Baltimore the place cruise ships would usually be taking vacationers out to sea.

Agencies working out of the middle embody the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Maryland Transportation Authority, amongst others.

“We work greatest once we’re working with our companions,” mentioned Lt. Cmdr. Amanda Faulkner with the Coast Guard. “This is how we are supposed to work — in collaboration.”

Faulkner mentioned one of many first priorities will probably be to partially open the principle transport channel on the Port of Baltimore.

“That will enable us to get again as much as 75% of pre-collapse operations by way of the waterway,” Faulkner mentioned, including that the hope is to get that performed earlier than the tip of the month.

Crews will then must take away bridge particles from the cargo ship, get the ship off the river and totally reopen the channel to commerce.

Officials have mentioned all of that may doubtless take one other month, no less than.

The bridge collapsed on March 26 after being struck by the cargo ship Dali, which misplaced energy shortly after leaving Baltimore, certain for Sri Lanka.

Those working the ship issued a mayday alert with simply sufficient time for police to cease site visitors, however not sufficient to save lots of a roadwork crew filling potholes on the bridge.

Authorities imagine six employees — immigrants from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador — plunged to their deaths within the Patapsco River.

The our bodies of three have been recovered, however the seek for the opposite victims continues.


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