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Key Bridge wreckage lies in deepest parts of Baltimore shipping channel, sonar imaging finds

An in-depth look at the underwater salvage efforts at Key Bridge site
An in-depth look at the underwater salvage efforts at Key Bridge site 03:20

BALTIMORE -- A new perspective of the mangled remains of the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge illustrates the magnitude of ongoing salvage and recovery operations in the Patapsco River. 

The U.S. Navy on Wednesday released sonar images of the bridge beneath the surface, which revealed wreckage in the deepest part of the shipping channel vital to the Port of Baltimore. 

Sonar images show bridge wreckage in the deepest part of the federal shipping channel and one of the Francis Scott Key Bridge main supports. U.S. Navy

Goal to increase access to Port of Baltimore 

Marine access remains limited to the Port of Baltimore. Two temporary passageways were created for smaller commercial and essential ships and barges. The 14-foot channel along the south of the disaster site and the 11-foot channel along the northeast side allow limited marine vessels access to the port.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is leading the salvage effort, said it plans to remove the metal framework that extends above the waterline by the end of April, making way for a 35-foot-deep by 280-foot-wide limited access channel for larger ships like marine tugs, Maritime Administration vessels, and some cargo ships. 

Recovery efforts ongoing

Six men were killed in the collapse over two weeks ago, but three bodies remain unrecovered. Authorities believe they may be trapped in the wreckage, but safe recovery efforts take time. 

"We've established a general area of where we believe the victims are right now. The complex operation requires a lot of surveying," U.S. Coast Guard Commander Roberto Conception told WJZ Tuesday. "Because there's a lot of debris underneath the waterline, we want to make sure the first responders are safe as well."

Officials recovered the body of 38-year-old Maynor Yasir Suazo-Sandoval on Friday morning, a week after two bodies were recovered from a vehicle underwater. 

"Most were immigrants, but all were Marylanders." President Biden said Friday in a visit to Baltimore. "Hardworking, strong and selfless. After pulling a night shift fixing potholes, they were on a break when the ship struck."  

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