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Weather delays plan to use explosives to remove Key Bridge from Dali; ship's crew pushes FBI to return confiscated phones

Dali crew endures stress amid preparations for controlled demolition of Key Bridge span
Dali crew endures stress amid preparations for controlled demolition of Key Bridge span 02:32

BALTIMORE -- Weather is delaying the explosive demolition of a massive span of the Key Bridge that sits on top of the Dali cargo ship as concern over high winds has officials moving the plan from Saturday to Sunday.

The demolition will happen while more than  20 crew members remain on board. The Unified Command expects the explosions to take just seconds and sound like fireworks. They have discouraged spectators. 

Reverend Josh Messick with the Baltimore International Seafarers' Center has been in constant contact with crew members over the past six weeks. 

"They'll be at their stations for the most part…whatever they're doing normally while they're doing all this," Messick told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren Friday. "It's been really taxing for them. They're well cared for by the company. Just to be confined to one space for so long is incredibly stressful. 

Adding to the stress, Messick said their phones have been confiscated by the FBI as part of the agency's investigation into the disaster. 

"The crew cooperated fully, unlocked them all. They had an understanding they would be getting them back in a couple of days, and that's yet to happen," he said. 

While they now have replacement phones, they no longer have their contacts or family photos.

Messick said, "It's the little pieces of humanity that have been stripped away, and that is what is particularly heartbreaking."

Cuts have already been made in the steel where explosives have been placed, then covered with what looks like heavy-duty tape. The controlled detonation will take seconds, with the truss expected to fall into the Patapsco River in pieces as seen in this animation.

U-S Corps of Engineers' Col. Estee Pinchasin spoke to John Dickerson about the plan on CBS News 24/7.

"To refloat the vessel is very challenging because you want to make sure that nothing is obstructing the extraction of the vessel, so this last piece that is the largest span that we're removing so far has been the most complex," Col. Pinchasin said.

It will likely be several more days before the Dali is refloated and moved to Seagirt when Messick is hopeful the crew will be allowed to disembark. 

"The captain really just wants to go to a park and be in nature for a bit, so I'm going to try to take him to Ladew Gardens," Messick said. "They are looking forward to establishing some type of normalcy. They are still not sure how they are being perceived by the rest of the world, and it's important for me to share with them that they are not criminalized. In my view, they are heroes for doing everything they could to save lives. They really went above and beyond. It's a tragic event to be sure, but they are victims of this as well so it's important for me to be able to do what I can for them when I can."

Andrew Middleton with Apostleship of the Sea personally met with the crew onboard last week. 

"I have purposely not asked any questions about the incident. I don't need to know. I don't specifically want to know. And I don't really want to make them relive that trauma right now, so I have not asked those questions," Middleton told WJZ.

Unified Command said the plan to fully reopen the channel in the Patapsco River and access to the Port of Baltimore by the end of May remains on track.

"I feel we are at the beginning of the end towards opening the full federal navigation channel, which is 700 feet wide, by this next phase of removing this large span that's laying on top of and across the vessel," Col. Pinchasin told CBS News.

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