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CNN International: Major Baltimore Bridge Collapses After Being Hit By Ship; RFK Jr. Picks Silicon Valley Lawyer Nicole Shanahan As VP. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired March 26, 2024 - 15:00   ET



RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: And that's the starkness of it. The Dali hitting the bridge, collapsing it and now resting while they searched for those who may have been lost as a result.

This is CNN. Jim Sciutto is next.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: It is 7:00 p.m. in London, 10:00 p.m. in Moscow, 9:00 p.m. n Tel Aviv, 3:00 p.m. here in New York. I'm Jim Sciutto.

Thanks so much for joining me today on CNN NEWSROOM, and let's get right to the news.

The search is underway for six people still unaccounted for following the catastrophic collapse of Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge, this after a massive container ship collided with it in the early morning hours Tuesday. This is a live picture of what is left of the 1.6 mile four-lane bridge, which crosses Baltimore's harbor, 35,000 people travel across it every day.

And you could see the container ship Dali now entangled in the wreckage. A video camera captured the stunning moment of impact watch as that 984-foot ship appears to lose power and veer into the bridge, sending people and cars plunging down into the water below. Up close, you could see the extent of the damage in these still photos. Authorities credit a mayday call from the Dali just moments before the crash for saving lives as workers were able to stop the flow of traffic onto the bridge.

Joining me now to discuss former U.S. secretary of transportation under President Obama, Ray LaHood.

Good to have you on. Thanks for taking time this afternoon.


SCIUTTO: So first, as we watch this, 30,000 vehicles cross it every day. This happened shortly before 01:30 a.m. in the morning, obviously would have been a far worse disaster had it been during peak travel times rush hour, et cetera. The warning that was issued after the mayday call from the ship appears to have been consequential.

I want to play some sound from the recording of that call just as it happened, have a listen. We don't have the sound but we did have from the bridge of that ship, what turned out to be a consequential phone call because it allowed them to cut off any additional traffic there.

Can you talk about how important that warning was and is that part of a system that is generalized, that you would see under circumstances like this at a number of bridges?

LAHOOD: Well, Jim, I do think the call was critical in terms of saving lives because they were able to stop the traffic from going over the bridge and probably saved people from going into the -- into the harbor there, into the water. And obviously, the people that were involved with the ship and steering the ship realized that something went wrong and realized that they needed to send up a warning and so it was helpful and it save lives. There's no question about it.

SCIUTTO: This is -- just looking at these aerials here, it's a massive container ship and we see more and more of these today. Those ships have gotten bigger over time. As you look at this. And obviously there's a great deal of investigation to be done.

Is this an infrastructure issue as in the bridge should have been stronger or a harbor safety issue, you know, especially given the size of these ships are or is it both really is it most likely to be a combination of things?

LAHOOD: The Baltimore harbor is one of the busiest harbors. That particular channel is one of the busiest in the world, bringing goods into the United States and delivering goods from the United States around the world. No question about that.

The bridge is the bridge was built in 1977. It's not a bridge that was built to the standards that we know of today. And I'm certain that the new bridge will build be built to the highest sustainable standards possible when that when that occurs.

So, you know, you have to you know, two issues here the harbor getting too busy and is the infrastructure -- infrastructure that will not sustain the kind of, you know, incursion that took place by this huge cargo ship.

SCIUTTO: Let me ask you this because as we could tell in the video, we were playing earlier, the lights flicker on the ship, the power seems to go out, then it drifts, I would expect personally that a ship of this size and cost and an advancement and it looks relatively new based on what we know about it though its been in service for a number of years would have auxiliary systems or failsafes if one power source went out, it would have another or another after that.


Is that not normal for a ship like this?

LAHOOD: I think it probably is normal, Jim, but this thing happens so quickly whatever mechanically happened happened very quickly and they're obviously wasn't time for them, those that were guiding the ship to make the correction necessary to avoid -- avoid the bridge. Had they had that opportunity? Certainly they would have taken it. They did have enough time to send a warning signal, to send a warning phone call, but not enough time to make the correction that was needed.

SCIUTTO: One more question before we go, because as you know, of course, the U.S. passed quite a large are many multi-billion dollar infrastructure package recently, within the last couple of years to begin to repair and replace some of the nation's aging infrastructure a long time coming. The trouble is, of course, it takes many years, particularly to replace bridges, to take some time to build.

Is this also a sign of that? That the infrastructure needs to be updated and replaced for, for modern times, in this case, for bigger ships?

LAHOOD: Jim, we've been preaching this -- the fact since we came became secretary and 2004, eight under president Obama and Vice President Biden, we preached a long, long time and President Biden was able to work in a bipartisan way to pass $1 transportation bill, the largest in the history of the country because we have aging infrastructure on our highways in our ports on our bridges.

And this is a classic example of it. And President Biden was finally able to persuade Congress to pass a bill and so, now, we need to use that money to build a new bridge across the Baltimore harbor.

SCIUTTO: Yeah, it was a great deal of time and expense. No question.

Ray LaHood, we appreciate you joining us this afternoon.

LAHOOD: Thank you, Jim

We have one of our CNN reporters on the scene, Danny Freeman. He's been focusing on the families. There are still six missing people from this construction workers who were on that branch at the time.

Danny, what are you hearing there about both the search efforts and how the families are responding this?

DANNY FREEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, obviously, we've been out here for a little while now. The Coast Guard is still up in the air, this search operations still underway.

But we also had a chance to speak with some people who said that they had family members, intimate family members who were on that bridge behind me when it collapsed earlier this good morning. And obviously, as you can imagine, they're incredibly distressed, very upset, and still at this point, like many of us hoping for more answers.

Now I should say, they said that the workers, their family members, who were on that bridge are from Brawner Builders. It's a local construction company, just about five miles away from this site right here. Before I go on, I want to know, Jim, that Brawner Builders when we reached out to them, they declined to comment to CNN.

But the first one when I spoke with said that she has at least two immediate family members who are still missing at this time, obviously, incredibly worried. She didn't want to provide their names at this time. But she said, for example, her uncle has worked at this company for many, many years and just absolutely loved every part of his job being out there on these construction teams.

The two other women that I spoke to said that actually one of their family members was the one, was one of the men who survived and was actually discharged from the hospital. But frankly, they said that he's just not doing well. You can imagine the mental and emotional toll that this entire situation has taken on him and his family, and, of course, his co-workers and I'll say that his wife was sitting there while I was speaking with one of the family members and she was incredibly distressed, sad, and stoic as this -- she was processing the events that had happened earlier in the day.

Jim, I just want to know also that the Maryland secretary of transportation gave insight into what these workers were doing out here overnight and it was not massive infrastructure problems. It was not a huge different repairs. It was road maintenance. They were filling potholes. That was what the secretary said.

Again, just an example of how hard some of these folks are working to make sure that these roads are smooth for us. So again, for all the family members and others who no, these people who are still missing and those who survived incredible -- incredibly tragic day.

SCIUTTO: No question. Of course, they do those repairs oftentimes at night expressly because there are fewer people on the road. So, Danny Freeman, thanks so much.

We also have our Kristin Fisher on the scene there in Baltimore covering the investigation.


And, Kristin, I know its the early stages, but can you tell us what the lines of investigation are at this point?

KRISTIN FISHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sure. Well, the NTSB was just held a press conference, of course, taking the lead on this investigation. But one of the most interesting things that was said during this press conference is that today, they decided to really take a step back and not even board the ship today because of these ongoing search and rescue operations as these coast card divers and search and rescue crew workers tried to find these six missing construction crew workers.

And so, one of the things that the NTSB really wants to get their hands-on is the voyage data recorder, kind of like the black box that you would get on an airplane. This is the data recorder or the ships data recorder, which would have vital information on it about what exactly was happening, perhaps some information about those power issues potentially propulsion issues, that the cargo ship was facing in those critical moments before it crashed into the Key Bridge, which you can see just behind me.

But they have -- the NTSB says that they have, about 24 people, two dozen people on site here. They're going to be combing through all sorts of things about the owner and the operator of the ship, the safety protocols that were in place.

And then, of course, we know about this, this mayday which undoubtedly saved so many lives because the crew was able to get that mayday out. And the officials on the bridge were able to keep cars from getting onto the bridge, right when that collision took place.

But, Jim, today, the big headline from the NTSB is essentially that they will be taking the lead. They have lots of questions. There's a lot of information that they are starting to dig through, but they're taking a backseat right now to allow this search and rescue operation to continue to take place, which has now been going on for well over 12 hours now.

SCIUTTO: Yeah, we could see one of those helicopters circling over the scene there in the video we just aired.

Kristin Fisher, thanks so much.

CNN's investigative team has been digging through online dashcam and live stream videos, to try to piece together exactly how the container ship Dali collided with a bridge, the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

I want to bring in CNN's investigative producer Katie Polglase, who's been reviewing that data.

Katie, of course, early stages here, but can you give us a sense based on those videos, at least at the timeline as to how this played out.

KATIE POLGLASE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE PRODUCER: Yeah, absolutely. So, we've been looking through, as you mentioned, dashcam and live feeds, and that has been crucial because these are obviously already set up before the tragedy happened, so we can see exactly what the situation was at the bridge before the ship arrived. And then what happened in those fateful moments as it unfolded.

And it's pretty clear from our investigation that this is really all happening in a couple of minutes. We can see the power outages unfolding as the ship is veering off course, by looking through these live feeds and also looking through various kinds of ship tracking platforms that show the path the ship was meant to be on, and as it veered off course.

Have a look at exactly actually what we found so far.


POLGLASE (voice-over): This is the shocking moment the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapses after being hit by a huge container ship. As videos emerged online from live streams and passersby CNN has looked into exactly what happened. The ship in question is Dali, a 984-foot Singaporean container ship

that was heading to Colombo, Sri Lanka with two pilots on board, the ships management company says. Using marine traffic or public ship tracking platform, we identify Dali, the ship as it set off at midnight 50 a.m. in the morning. It follows a straight path towards the bridge until 1:26 a.m. when it starts veering off course. Shortly after it crashes, rescue boats can be seen rushing to the scene.

We matched this route to what we see in the livestream. Shortly before it veers off course at 1:24 a.m., we see here the ships lights going out before coming back on seconds later. At 1:25 a.m., we see large plumes of smoke coming from the ship. Then the lights go out again at 1:26 a.m. It indicates a power failure.

The crew on board did notify authorities of a power issue according to the governor of Maryland just before the bridge collapses, vehicles can be seen on the bridge, but as the mayday call goes out, luckily, the traffic stops before further tragedy hits.

Still as the search for survivors continues, Baltimore City fire department have since confirmed that their sonar have detected vehicles in the water. The ship had in fact crashed before. The port of Antwerp in Belgium tells CNN back in 2016 when it was maneuvering out of a port, it crashed.


The report set it suffered damages in the stern and transom. Now, with official investigations beginning, the question will be whether mechanical or human error caused this terrible tragedy?


POLGLASE (on camera): Now, whatever caused this tragedy, it's very clear from our investigation so far that the people on board were trying to stop it. We've been hearing already that they tried to throw an anchor. You can see that in some of the aftermath footage as well, the chain of an anchor is really visible in some of this footage. Clearly at the very last moment today, were trying to stop the ships movement into this bridge. But clearly unsuccessfully and a lot more questions to be asked about how this power failure happened and why exactly it happened as well -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: Katie, you may not have been able to determine this from the video available now, but you showed video of a semi-truck going over the bridge prior to impact. Can you tell from the video whether that truck went down with the bridge as well or is it not clear?

POLGLASE: It's interesting. It's a very good question. You can't quite see it from that live feed, but there is a possibility that if we looked into other footage, you might be able to identify, of course, this bridge is quite wide, so there is other sections of the bridge that we can't see. To our knowledge, we don't think that did as far as were at the at the moment because of this mayday called, that were talking about at the moment, they sent this out and it warned people to make sure they got off the bridge and for others not to get onto the bridge.

But clearly, some really crucial decision-making for those drivers on that bridge.

SCIUTTO: No question. The governor of Maryland crediting that mayday call with potentially saving lives.

Katie Polglase, thanks so much.

And please do stay with us.

Soon, independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. will announce his pick for vice president. We're going to take you live to Oakland, California.


SCIUTTO: Welcome back.

This is live pictures from Oakland, California there on your screen, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., candidate for president, about to make his announcement of his vice presidential running mate.

Let's listen in.

ROBERT F. KENNEDY, JR., INDEPENDENT 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Oakland, thank all of you for being here today. I also want it thank the tribal chiefdoms, Muwekma Ohlones tribe and the chairwoman of the tribal council for endorsing me today, for putting their faith in me.

And they know -- the Muwekma Ohlones tribe. And they very much, they -- that this struggle for indigenous rights has consumed a lot of my life, my personal and my professional life and that this work is going to continue when we're in the White House.


The Muwekma Ohlones is one of the many tribes that were decertified during the 1950s, 1960s, and these tribes need to be re-legitimized, and that's something that I will do is I get to the White House.

I want to say something about my Oakland. My father spent a lot of time doing hearings in Oakland on the poverty issues for the poverty committee and 1967 when he was a United States senator. And then he came back here and 1968 on the presidential campaign. And during that presidential run, he made an unscheduled visit to Oakland's Taylor Memorial Church, and he went there with Willie Brown, who later became mayor of San Francisco. But at that time it was assemblyman.

And he came to me with a lot of local activists here in Oakland and a very, very violent, turbulent time. He met with the NAACP and the Black Panther Party, and it was a very rancorous meeting. He was advised by the local police chief not to go. He attended with two of its companions, John Glenn. He asked one of hi best friends, Rafer Johnson, who've been decathlon champion in 1960, and was one of my father's closest friends. And the meeting was so rancorous and vitriolic, at one point, Rafer and John Glenn advised my father to leave. People were insulting him and people were threatening him. My dad refused and he said this is between me and them, I need to hear them out. I need to hear what they're going to say.

And he waited. He stayed throughout that meeting, and the next day, all of the people who are at that meeting signed up to join his campaign.

And the Black Panther Party provided his security detail here in Oakland and continued -- continued to provide security for him later on, the campaign, during -- in his convoys. And it was a lesson that I just wanted to share it with you because it's a lesson all of us need to learn at this point in our history. We need to start listening to each other, even when it's difficult.

We need to sit through the anger. We need to sit with each other and listen to the feelings and not walk away and not see each other as enemies.

Learn to love each other, even through that anger and vitriol, we need to start coming back to each other as Americans again.

Now, the last time I was in Oakland was when I arrived on the trial in the Monsanto cases. And we -- we tried to of the three cases in this city, we won. We won and -- we won $289 million in the first and then the third one, which we tried here, we wanted we asked the jury for a billion dollars, and an Oakland jury gave us $2.2 billion.

That brought Monsanto to the negotiating table. We settled and all 40,000 cases.

But I lived here for several months during trial and I got to really love the city. The Monsanto case was the latest in a lifetime of battles for me, to get poisons out of our food and out of our farms and restore our soils.

The effort -- that effort has consumed a lot of my life, and I wanted a vice president who shared my passion for a wholesome, healthy foods, chemical free for regenerative agriculture, for goods soils.


I found exactly the right person and among other things, she has used over the past several years, cutting edge technology, including A.I. to calculate the catastrophic health consequences of toxins in our soil, our air, our water and food. Technology has been a lifelong passion for my future vice president.

This is important because I also wanted a vice president who shares my indignation about the participation of big tech as a partner in the censorship and surveillance and the information warfare that our government is currently waging against the American people.

And that's why I'm bringing on someone with a deep inside knowledge of how big tech uses A.I. to manipulate the public. I want a partner with strong ideas about how to reverse those dire threats to democracy and to our freedoms I managed to find a technologists at the forefront of A.I.

She has spent the last decade relying on neural networks, artificial intelligence, and cutting edge science to identify abuses in our government. She understands that the health of every American is a national security issue and national security risks.

Her work has proven time and again that health drives our economy. That is the foundation of our mental health or national happiness, our ability to lead the world in innovation and prosperity and at peace.

I also wanted someone who is an athlete, who could help me inspire Americans to heal, to get them back in shape. And I'm happy to report that my vice president is an avid surfer -- who attended -- who attended school on a softball scholarship. I want -- right here in Oakland.

I wanted someone who has battle-tested, able to withstand criticism and the controversy and all the defamation, and slanders and perjurers that are thrown anyone who embarks on a presidential campaign. I wanted an advocate who has seen corruption of our regulatory agencies firsthand, who shares my indignation about the way it allows regulated industries to commoditize our food, our wildlife and our children. I wanted someone who would honor the traditions of our nation as a nation of immigrants, but who also understands that to be a nation, we need to secure borders.

I -- I wanted a partner who as a gifted administrator but also possesses the gift of curiosity, an open, inquiring mind and the confidence to change even her strongest opinions in the face of contrary evidence. I wanted someone with a spiritual dimension and compassion, and idealism and above all, a deep love of the United States of America.

I found all of those qualities in a woman who grew up right here in Oakland, a daughter of immigrants who overcame every daunting obstacle and went on to achieve the highest levels of the American dream. So that is why I'm so proud to introduce to you, the next vice president, the United States, my fellow lawyer, a brilliant scientist, technologist, a fierce warrior mom, Nicole Shanahan.


I'm going to tell, you a little bit Nicole before we bring her out here. We're going to see a video, Nicole's personal story began in Oakland. She was the daughter of impoverished immigrants.


She grew up on food stamps and welfare in the city, beset by many, many other unique challenges, all of which she overcame. Her very, very American journey took her to a career as a patent attorney and as a Silicon Valley tech entrepreneur and as a Stanford University fellow. Like many of us, Nicole assumed our government was working for our

people and our defense and intelligence agencies wanted peace, that public health agencies wanted us to be healthy, that the USDA supported wholesome foods and family farms, that the EPA would stand up for clean air and clean water, that the Fed wanted prosperous America, that the Democratic Party was on the side of the middle class, the working poor and main street small businesses, that scientists were incorruptible and that at the science was a search for -- an exalted search for the truth, and that the president of the United States could always be counted on to defend free speech.

I do used to believe those things. Do you remember those days?

And she'll tell you that she now understands that at the defense agencies work for the military industrial complex, that health agencies work for big pharma, that the USDA works are big ag and the processed food cartels, that the EPA is in cahoots with the polluters, that scientists can be mercenaries, that government officials sometimes act as censors and at the Fed works for Wall Street and allows millionaire bankers to prey upon Main Street and the American worker.

And that's why Nicole and I both left the Democratic Party.


Our values didn't change, but the Democratic Party did. The things that we love are still the same. We love our families, our children, and our faiths. We love clean air and clean water and productive soils, and good food. We love the wilderness and our purple mountains majesty, and above all, we love our country.

We want America to live up to her highest ideals. We want her to be an exemplary nation again, a global leader in freedom, opportunity and responsible government. We want America to be a peacemaker, a moral authority. We want our children to grow up as I did, in a country for which they feel love and pride.

We want them to feel safe and to have every opportunity for dignity, prosperity, and community. We want them to have confidence to their futures. We want them to have the best education.

SCIUTTO: We've been listening there to Robert F. Kennedy Jr., independent candidate for president in 2024, announcing a short time ago, his pick for his vice presidential running mate and that is Nicole Shanahan.

If you haven't heard RFK, Jr. speak before, he suffers from spasms in the throat muscles known as spasmodic dysphonia. That's the reason for that sound in his voice.

I want to bring in our expert panel to discuss what this means for the 2024 presidential race, Shelby Talcott of "Semafor" and Mario Parker of "Bloomberg".

Good to have you both on here. I wonder if I could begin with you, Shelby. We could say safely Nicole Shanahan is not a household name. There were other candidates on the shortlist, at least as discussed by the campaign, they included the NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers, former presidential candidate Andrew Yang.

I wonder does, an unknown name help or hurt or is it a push as far as RFK Jr.'s presidential election campaign?

SHELBY TALCOTT, POLITICAL REPORTER, SEMAFOR: Well, I think that's a really good question because there were names on this list that were far more of household names, right?

I'm thinking of Aaron Rodgers, for example. But they also came with their own set of baggage, right CNN reported about him privately discussing conspiracies about the sandy hook shooting. And so that maybe would have negatively affected his campaign.

So there is an argument to be made that while she is not a household name, she is a young woman from an image grant family who has sort of risen through this working class family to be this very successful Silicon Valley attorney and maybe that ends up helping him on an independent presidential run.


SCIUTTO: Mario Parker, we should note money factor here, money certainly key to presidential campaigns. And as I understand it, Nicole Shanahan provided the funding for that ad that aired during the Super Bowl for RFK Jr., which we should note borrowed from -- borrowed liberally from an ad for his uncle John F. Kennedy to the upset of members of the Kennedy family here.

But is that also a factor in this choice? Is, is it, is it a campaign fundraising decision in part?

MARIO PARKER, NATIONAL POLITICS TEAM LEADER, BLOOMBERG: Yes, it looks to be that way. Jim, essentially, the fact that as you mentioned, Nicole Shanahan helped him fund that ad earlier this year. Silicon Valley ties as an entrepreneur, venture capitalists out that way as well. Of course, she herself is quite wealthy also.

And so yes, the money does have something to do with this in this instance.

SCIUTTO: Let me ask you, Shelby, it is clear that the other campaigns are paying attention here. Both Biden and Trump, arguably the Democrats more so, because they look at battleground polls and they see at least today granted, close to eight months out, seven months out from election day, in battleground states such as Michigan, Pennsylvania, they show Kennedy in double digits there, which is more than enough to potentially swing or decide what is a very tight race between Trump and Biden.

Who is R.F. Kennedy, Jr. more of a threat to -- whose voters as he more likely to take from, Trump or Biden's, or do we know? TALCOTT: That's the ultimate debate, you know, a few months ago when

he first announced that he was actually going to run as an independent the Trump campaign was pretty concerned because they had seen internal polling where he was taking votes away from them because remember, he really spoke to a lot of Republicans, particularly on his vaccine seen skepticism when it came to COVID.

Now, though, the Biden campaigns seems far more concerned as time has gone on, and they actually have an entire operation dedicated to attacking Kennedy, which I think sort of answers that question in terms of who's more concerned, but we still don't know ultimately at the end of the day where he's going to take more votes from.

SCIUTTO: No question.

And, Mario, we should note for folks who don't know at home that RFK, Jr., not just a COVID vaccine skeptic, but a vaccine skeptic in general, including on vaccines where there's really no basis and some of the theories, for instance, behind the MMR vaccine fears were found to be based on false academic studies here. So that's quite a remarkable moment, is, is it not to have a third-party candidate running in this country polling with not insignificant numbers, right, who comes from certainly at least on, on vaccines, a conspiracy theory part of the country?

PARKER: Yes. And this is all connected. Bloomberg/Morning Consult has a poll out this morning that has him drawing about 9 percent of the vote. So if you're expecting a close election as we predict later on in November, that 9 percent is pretty significant.

SCIUTTO: Mario, apologies. I'm going to have to interrupt you just because we have to go to live comments. Now on the other story, were following, this is the governor of Maryland Wes Moore about two briefed on the bridge collapse over the Baltimore Harbor. You can see him gathering there. That's Pete Buttigieg, the transportation secretary, just over his right shoulder. Let's listen in.

GOV. WES MOORE (D), MARYLAND: -- to speak. We've had the opportunity to spend time with the families, had the opportunity to pray with them and pray for them. And the strength of these families is absolute remarkable and we want to let them know that we are here with you every single step of the way. We are praying for you now and always and we always will.

We've also had the chance to spend time with a lot of our first responders who we mentioned before, the work that they have done since early in the morning and they have not stopped since its truly, is truly remarkable. These are individuals who in the middle of the night jumped into some very challenging environments, some very challenging territories. And have not stopped in their quests in making sure that each and every person is seen and supported and lift it up.

And so, to our first responders today and always, we just want to say from the bottom of our hearts, thank you.

I also had the chance to speak with both the president and the vice president, who have been full-throated in their support of everything that we're doing here in Maryland and we just want to say how grateful we are to them, how grateful we are to the secretary of transportation and Department of Transportation who within hours of this happening, I was on the phone with the secretary of transportation. I think Secretary Buttigieg call me at 3:30 in the morning.


And now, he and his entire team have been down here this afternoon and spending time looking at the efforts, looking at the damage, and also identifying what they can do to support and help. I can't tell you enough how much we appreciate that, Mr. Secretary, and also, please -- please let the president and the vice president know from the bottom of our heart how much we appreciate it as well.

We've also had a chance to be here with our remarkable congressional delegation. From the earliest parts of the morning, our congressional delegation has been there throughout and I always say I'm grateful that I've got such a remarkable congressional delegation and today, I just have another example as to why I am, I am a very lucky governor to have the congressional delegation that I have.

And also our state our local elected officials, Mayor Scott, who literally got a call from the very first thing in the morning. I know you have had no rest in a very long time, sir. And so only say how much we appreciate you.

But also, it's to the members of the philanthropic community who've been reaching out and offering support. It's members of the private sector who've been reaching out and offering support. It's the sandwich companies who have said we're going to shut down because we just want to make sure that the first responders are getting meals.

Everybody has stepped up. Everybody has raised their hands to serve. And I can tell you it is so deeply appreciated. It's so deeply felt. And for everyone who is offering prayers and supports, I can tell you those prayers are working and we are grateful. And the thing that I would ask for people to remember is this, the -- first, this is very much still a search and rescue mission. We are still actively looking for survivors we know.

And that's a pledge we've made to these families. And this is still very much an active search and rescue mission. And there is not a single resource that we will hold off on deploying. I've already authorized the deployment of everything from air, land, and sea resources to make sure that this search and rescue operation is carried out to its fullest intent.

The second thing I want to remind people is that this will not be short. There's going to be a long road. There's going to be a long road, not just as we go from search and rescue. There'll be a long road as we talk about what does the future of this region, the future of the area looked like.

We're going to need each and every one of you. We're thankful to our partners like what we have in the Biden-Harris administration. We're thankful for the partners that we have in our federal delegation. We're thankful for the partners we have in our state and local leadership. Were thankful for the partners that we have in the private sector and philanthropic community. We're thankful for the partners that we have within the Moore-Miller administration. We're thankful for each and every one of you.

Both Marylanders and non-Marylanders who have reached out and offered support, we feel it, we need it, and we are truly grateful for it.

And I think just in this time this state has been able to show what it means to be Maryland tough and Baltimore strong and this state and the city will continue to show exactly that. And so, with that, I want to turn it over to our secretary of transportation, Pete Buttigieg, with a deep sense of thanks and appreciation.

Oh, I apologize. Before I sent over to Secretary Buttigieg, I want to turn it over to the dean of our -- of our -- of our delegation, and someone who has been leading from the front this entire time, and we are deeply grateful for the leadership of Senator Ben Cardin.

SEN. BEN CARDIN (D-MD): Governor Moore, first of all, thank you very much for getting our whole team together to meet this challenge and our prayers are with the families of those that are lost at sea at this moment. As the governor said, it's still a search and rescue. So we are hopeful and we are with the families.

I also want to underscore our thanks to our first responders. They did an extraordinary job acting very quickly and save lives. So we thank our first responders for everything that they have done.

I just really want to underscore a couple of points. Our first priority is the search and rescue for those that were on the bridge we then need to make sure that the -- that the channel is reopened. It's critically important to our economy. It affects many, many jobs. It affects not only jobs here in Maryland, but around the country 3.8 and world.

So our next priority is make sure we get that channel opened and then we also need to fix, replace the bridge for the surface transportation. We're going to work together as a team. I am very impressed by all the partners that are with us today. We heard from them at the state level, the local level, at the federal level.


I particularly want to acknowledge our federal partners. The secretary transportation is with us. We have the Coast Guard. We have the Army Corps of Engineers. We had the investigation. We have the small business administration. They're all here because of the commitment of the partners to work together.

A special thanks to President Biden, who's made it very, very clear that he'll do everything in his power to make sure that we get the help we need to deal with this challenge. But as Secretary Buttigieg told us in our briefings, he's going to need the help of Congress in order to get things done. So I want to acknowledge our team, Senator Van Hollen, my partner in

the United States Senate, on the Appropriations Committee and the work that he's doing, Congressman Mfume is here. Congressman Trone is here.

Team Maryland, our federal delegation is committed to working together. Senator Van Hollen and I got calls from our leadership that said they're prepared, Secretary Buttigieg, to do everything that we need to do in Congress to make sure you have the resources and the federal partners have the resources in order to get the job done.

So I want to thank Senator Schumer for his calling his comments, Senator Murray, Senator Carper, chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, have all been in touch with us. It is a team effort and we're going to make sure that we do everything we can to protect our economy, and protect the people of our state.

And with that, let me just turn it back to the governor or Secretary Buttigieg -- this guy called (ph) us up early this morning, so thank you very much.

PETE BUTTIGIEG, SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION: Thank you and I want to thank, Senator Cardin and the entire delegation for their leadership. They have been on this from the first moments and as the senator mentioned, and I'll say more about this in a moment, will be needing to work together to make sure that we render all of the support that is needed at the federal level.

I want to recognize the leadership of Governor Moore, who was already wide-awake and hard at work when I reached him middle of the night, we just had a very informative briefing with his extraordinary leadership team and I was moved to see the partnership between a state as well as county and city personnel led by the county executive and the mayor, working hand in glove with us and with our sister, federal agencies.

And if there's one thing I have to say today, it is a note of gratitude for the extraordinary and courageous work of the first responders, some of whom are in that cold water right now, some of whom are from right here, some of whom have traveled into render mutual aid all of whom are responding with extraordinary professionalism and whose work has already saved lives and to those state, county, and local responders, I would add the extraordinary work of the United States Coast Guard.

We should also recognize that this is an excruciating de, for several families who went to bed last night having to be a normal night. And woke up today to news that no one wants to receive. They are hoping and praying and we are hoping and praying with them.

We are all putting our arms around the community of Baltimore and that -- that is true for all of this country. Ive even heard from counterparts as far away as the United Kingdom, reaching out to express their support to the people of Baltimore.

Has been mentioned, been in close contact with the governor, the mayor, county leadership, and the congressional delegation and as President Biden has made clear, the federal government will provide all of the support that they need, for as long as it takes.

This is no ordinary bridge. This is one of the cathedrals of American infrastructure. It has been part of the skyline of this region for longer than many of us have been alive.

So the path to normalcy will not be easy. It will not be quick. It will not be inexpensive. But we will rebuild together.

In order to make sure that happens. The president's plan is to work with everyone here in order to rebuild this bridge and reopen this port, including our readiness is at apartment to approve emergency funding as soon as we receive that request.

Meanwhile, our maritime administration will help with port, harbor and supply chain operations. Our federal highway administration will assist when it comes to the bridge itself and any ways that we can help ease roadway congestion for residents and commuters who can no longer use this major thoroughfare. The Federal Aviation Administration is even involved working to keep the airspace above the bridge clear for emergency personnel, PHMSA, our Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is on the scene to help in any hazmat issues, and our newly stood up freight office is already at work preparing for supply chain impacts that we know are coming because of the importance of this port, not just the Baltimore region, but of really to the entire United States economy.


We're going to be working closely with the National Transportation Safety Board as they lead their independent investigation and with the Coast Guard as they continue operations in the water. I'm also spoken with Secretary Mayorkas, who's working to ensure that all DHS assets are integrated.

So in many ways, our work is just beginning to rebuild this bridge and deal with impacts, in the meantime to reopen this port and deal with supply chain impacts in the meantime. But today, we are most acutely focused on the emergency operations underway and on the families that have been impacted. I have no doubt that we will rebuild together and that Baltimore will come back stronger than ever before.

With that, I'll turn it back over to governor to lead the media questions.


REPORTER: Governor, any news (INAUDIBLE)?

MOORE: There's -- there's no new information about the search efforts that we know that we still have. We still have the six individuals were missing.

REPORTER: Governor, when you talk about the investigative standpoint, how concerned are you if there were any safety the violations on this ship or the track record of the owner operator? And, Mr. Secretary, if you could speak to that as well. Do you have any concerns about that? Mayor Scott, we also didn't hear from you. What are your thoughts on this tragedy to them?

MOORE: Well, I'll take a first that could pass off to the mayor.

REPORTER: Thank you.

MOORE: I know there's a -- there's a thorough investigation that's going to be going on about everything that took place last night, the things that led up to it, and also the aftermath and so, I don't have any further comments about any concerns that we have about the companies that are involved because there's still a thorough investigation is going to take place.

MAYOR BRANDON SCOTT (D), BALTIMORE, MD: Thank you, Mr. Governor.

I think we all know this is an unspeakable tragedy. And while as the governor just said, the investigation is still on the way all of that can wait. Right now, this is about the lives of those individuals that we are searching for, and nothing else. Everything else, this team of folks will work together to make sure they rebuild and do everything we need to do for our port.

But right now, we need everyone to understand this is about the labs and those families or deeply impacted.

REPORTER: Governor --

REPORTER: Mr. Secretary, this is -- we've seen now several bridge collapses happened over the past couple years. Obviously this was a catastrophic, catastrophic event that bridge felt very quickly. How concerned should Americans be about the bridges that they're traversing every single day?

BUTTIGIEG: Well, this is a unique circumstance. I do not know of a bridge that has been constructed to stand a direct impact from a vessel of this size. What I will say is anytime anything happens to any bridge, we as a country take that and learn from that learning from incidents as diverse as what happened to I-95 and for Philadelphia. What happened to I-10 and Los Angeles or another case that we're learning a lot from here, which is the 2007 collapse of I- 35 west in Minnesota.

Let me emphasize that was a very different circumstance with very different causes. And the NTSB by design is independently leading the investigation into what those causes are? No question that we will take all of that information and apply it in our future work.

REPORTER: Mr. Secretary, how -- how long are you preparing for the shipping channel to be closed? And you mentioned supply chain, what else are you doing to make sure other boards are prepared to maybe take on some of that?

BUTTIGIEG: Well, the port here in Baltimore does the most vehicle handling of any port at all. And that's just talking about the vehicle side. You also have container traffic. You have both traffic. There is no question that this will be a major and protracted impact

to supply chains. It's too soon to offer estimates on what it will take to clear for the channel and reopen the port. There is one part of the facilities here, trade point, which is located at Sparrow Point, which is outside of the part that's blocked. But the main part of the port of Baltimore is, of course, inside the channel that has been locked.


BUTTIGIEG: This is part of why were fortunate to add that newly stood up for aid office, which along with the maritime administration and all of our interagency intergovernmental partners here is we're going to make sure we coordinate. There is no central authority that directs maritime traffic the way you have with air traffic. So it's going to be important to have a number of dialogues established with notion shippers, beneficial cargo owners, port operators, and everybody else who plays a role.

REPORTER: I'm sorry, Governor, just for clarity, a question from this small morning. It was an unclear if there were any vehicles on the bridge when the vessel headed.

Can you -- do you have an update now whether there were actually vehicles?

MOORE: Yeah, so, there's still an investigation going on about which vehicles that we have that was on a bridge. The thing that we -- that we know that we also can verify though is the quick work of our -- of public officials and law enforcement who kept more vehicles from coming onto the bridge.


They undoubtedly saved innumerable amount of lives --

REPORTER: So, you're still looking for six people and that's it, as far as you know?

MOORE: That's our -- our investigation has not changed on that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you all. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much, guys.

REPORTER: Can you tell us the companies involved? The companies involved here, the shippers, the owners, insurance companies --

MOORE: We'll come back to that. We'll back to that.



SCIUTTO: We were listening to officials there commenting on the latest on that bridge collapse in Baltimore. The Governor of Maryland Wes Moore, Pete Buttigieg, the U.S. transportation secretary, Brandon Scott, the mayor of Baltimore, as well as Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland. Couple of headlines, they say search and rescue operations still underway. The total number of missing remains at six. Asked about whether there were any vehicles on the bridge as well in addition to the workers who comprise that six, no update from the governor on that.

The transportation secretary, Pete Buttigieg, did speak about emergency federal funding to help clear the port area. And this was notable. He said that he expects, quote, a major and protracted impact on supply change chains given how crucial the port of Baltimore is to both shipping, real traffic, traffic by roads.

Our Danny Freeman is there on the ground.

Interesting. No answer to that question as to whether there were any vehicles on the bridge as well, either they don't know or there were none. But right now, the number of missing stands at six.

FREEMAN: Yeah. You know, I think that, Jim, that with every one of these press conferences, we keep waiting to see if this search and rescue effort that all the officials keep emphasizing is the main priority if they are able to find and locate and rescue anyone and still the answer at this point as far as we understand from that press conference that you all just heard, is that still that number stands at six and like you said, Jim, no more real clarity on the a question about vehicles that may or may not be still missing.

But, you know, I just want to say, Jim, and refocus for a moment. You know, there are behind these six people who are still missing, and the other two who were on that bridge, but were able to survive miraculously. There are these families that are still so desperately waiting for answers.

So, we saw the governor a page tribute to those families initially, and note that they'd been in contact with them and know that they've been having these conversations, but they still don't have the answers as to where their loved ones are at this point.

So, again, we're waiting for that crucial answer, but at this point still six people missing and that search and rescue operation ongoing, Jim.

SCIUTTO: No question. Our thoughts certainly go to their family members awaiting for news. Any news?

Thanks so much to Danny Freeman on the scene there.

And thanks so much to all of you for joining me today on CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Sciutto in New York today.