UPresident Joe Biden visited the crash site for the first time since the bridge collapse in Baltimore, Maryland. The Democrat first took an aerial photo on a sightseeing flight on Friday. He then met with Maryland Governor Wes Moore, various representatives of the relevant authorities and relatives of first responders and victims.

At a press conference near the crash site, Biden renewed his pledge to fully fund the bridge's reconstruction with federal funds. Over the Easter weekend, helpers began removing the first ton of bridge sections. Since the collision, a steel frame has blocked the way out of Baltimore Harbor and the damaged ship remains at the crash site.

Biden explained that so far two lanes have been created on the water so that more boats can reach the debris field for cleanup. A third lane for limited commercial shipping should be in place by the end of April. The channel leading to the port should be fully navigable again by the end of May. Biden emphasized that in addition to the US auto industry, many other large companies – including the online retailer Amazon – depend on the port. Biden announced financial support for those people whose jobs depend on the port.

“Our hearts are still broken”

Last week, the container ship “Dali” rammed the abutment of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, as a result of which the more than 2.5 kilometers long four-lane highway bridge collapsed. Two people were saved, several died. The bodies of two men have already been recovered and the search for the four missing persons continues. According to the authorities, the victims were construction workers of Latin American origin who were repairing the bridge at the time of the accident.

“The damage is devastating and our hearts are still broken,” Biden said Friday. “I came here to mourn with you.” Seconds before the crash, one of the men texted his girlfriend. “It said: We just poured the cement, we're waiting for it to dry.”

The NTSB, the US transportation safety agency, is investigating how the crash happened, with a preliminary report expected to be released in the coming weeks. According to preliminary findings, the cause may have been a power outage on the ship.