Baltimore bridge collapse probe could take up to 2 years, safety officials say

The US National Transportation Safety Board says it could take up to two years to investigate the bridge collapse in Baltimore in the eastern state of Maryland.

A major portion of Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed in the early hours of Tuesday after a large cargo ship rammed into one of its columns. The bodies of two of the six missing construction workers were recovered on Wednesday.

Federal safety officials said in a news conference on Wednesday that the cargo ship Dali's voyage data recorder had been recovered. The device normally contains location information and verbal communications.

The NTSB says the six hours of VDR data included recordings of the ship's pilot reporting a power loss.

NTSB officials said a safety inspection conducted in May last year showed that the bridge was in satisfactory condition. But they pointed out there was a potential risk of the bridge collapsing if it were partially damaged.

The NTSB is analyzing the data and interviewing crew members. It said the investigation could take 12 to 24 months.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a news conference at the White House that "rebuilding will not be quick or easy or cheap."

To minimize the impact on supply chains, Buttigieg said the administration will help get the Port of Baltimore open as soon as possible.