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Search and rescue of 6 construction workers suspended after Baltimore bridge collapse

Before anyone can consider clearing the ruins of the now-collapsed Francis Scott Key, the head of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) told producers on Tuesday baltimore bridgesthe focus will be on the families and people affected by the tragic and devastating events.

NTSB Chairman Jennifer Homendy updated producers at a news conference, but she said before the conference that she would not answer questions about the death toll and would instead refer those questions to local agencies.

Instead, she said the National Transportation Safety Board would take a step back and allow the Coast Guard and others to participate in search and rescue efforts after the bridge was hit by a container ship and collapsed around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Homendy said the expert team will investigate everything that led to the accident, including navigation operations, ship operations, safety history, ship safety records, ship owner operations, company policies, safety management, personnel performance, engineering, survival factors, etc.

She also said highway safety teams and structural engineers would assist with the investigation.

Family assistance teams will be on site to assist family, friends and loved ones affected by the collapse.

“This is a team effort,” Homendy said, adding that there are many entities in the command post.

As for the number of cars and workers on the bridge when it collapsed, Homendy said the information needs to be verified.

She said she doesn’t believe anyone is considering the next steps to clearing the bridges and reopening shipping lanes. Instead, Homendy said, it’s about family.

“No one looks at the numbers,” she said. “They’re just looking and searching.”

The Homendy reporter told her she was unaware the bridge had been flagged as a safety defect in the past, but that the investigation would look into that. However, she also said an investigation into the bridge’s history could take at least two years and would not be verified on site.

Still, Homendy said there wasn’t much information to offer at the time of the news because she and her team had just gotten there.

“Really, the focus is on family,” she said.

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