Baltimore Key Bridge collapse news and rescue efforts

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg speaks during a news conference near the scene of a container ship collision with a support on the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, March 26. Matt Rourke/AP

If private companies are responsible for the Francis Scott Key Bridge cargo ship disaster, they will be held accountable, US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has said.

“Let's be clear: If any private party is responsible and accountable for this, they will be held accountable,” he told CNN. .

Buttigieg predicted a “long road to recovery” for the Francis Scott Key Bridge and Baltimore Harbor, telling CNN Wednesday that restoring the bridge and reopening the port will be a priority for the Biden administration.

When asked if he had any idea when the Patapsco River canal might reopen, Buttigieg said he didn't have an estimated time but was working with relevant authorities, including the U.S. Coast Guard, to try to reopen it as soon as possible. Conditions on the rest of the ship will also affect that timeline, he noted.

“Not only are we bringing those ships in, some ships are already in and they can't come out. So, opening that channel is very important,” he said.

Buttigieg warned of disruptions to supply chains: “The impact of this incident is going to be felt across the region and indeed across our supply chains. We're talking about the largest vehicle-handling port in the country, and now there's no commission until the channel is removed – and it took five years to build a bridge.

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