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Two bodies found as Baltimore bridge collapse moves from recovery to salvage

BALTIMORE, United States — The bodies of two construction workers were found in the cold waters of Baltimore harbor Wednesday, trapped in their red pick-up truck after a giant cargo ship slammed into the bridge they had been filling potholes on, causing a thunderous collapse.

Maryland police announced the grim discovery at a press conference, adding that sonar shows what they believe are more vehicles trapped within the concrete and twisted steel debris of the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

Six of the eight-man construction crew are believed to have been killed, with four bodies yet to be found.

Warning that it was not safe for divers to try to penetrate the wreckage, police told a press conference that they were shifting to a salvage operation, removing the superstructure and then sending divers back in to recover the rest of the bodies.

"Based on sonar scans, we firmly believe that the vehicles are encased in the superstructure and concrete that we tragically saw come down," Colonel Roland Butler, the superintendent of Maryland's state police, told a press conference.

Federal investigators also gave a detailed timeline of the tragedy based on preliminary findings from the ship's voice data recorder.

Marcel Muise, lead investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board, told a separate press conference that the container ship Dali, about 1,000 feet (300 meters) long and piled high with cargo, left dock at 12:39 am Tuesday en route to Asia.

At 1:24, alarms began sounding on the ship with indications of power trouble and the pilot soon radioed the port authority that the vessel was headed for the bridge, requesting tug boats.

The call for help was heard by two Maryland Transportation Authority units on the bridge because of the roadwork, and they shut down all lanes of traffic, likely saving lives.

Muise told reporters that at 1:29 the voice data recorder captured "sounds consistent with the collision."

Nearly the entire steel structure -- crossed by tens of thousands of motorists each day -- collapsed within seconds, cascading over the bow of the ship, blocking one of the busiest US trading ports.

There was no chance to evacuate the eight workers filling