6 People Remain Missing Hours After Baltimore Bridge Collapse: 'Our Prayers Are with the Families'

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In separate press conferences Tuesday afternoon, authorities said the ongoing search and rescue operation remains their top priority

<p>JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty </p>

JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty

  • Authorities say the search for six members of a construction crew remains ongoing

  • The individuals were working to fill potholes on the Francis Scott Key Bridge when it collapsed, authorities previously said on Tuesday

  • In separate press conferences, officials said the ongoing search and rescue operation remains their top priority

Authorities are continuing to prioritize search and rescue operation in Baltimore hours after a container ship struck the Francis Scott Key Bridge and caused it to collapse.

With six members of a construction crew still missing as of Tuesday afternoon, a number of officials, including Maryland Gov. Wes Moore, NTSB chair Jennifer Homendy and Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, said that finding the missing individuals is their top focus.

This is very much still a search and rescue mission, we are still actively looking for survivors we know, and that’s the pledge we’ve made to the families,” Moore said. “This is still very much an active search and rescue mission and there’s not a single resource that we will not hold off on deploying.”

Related: 'Unbelievable' Baltimore Bridge Collapse Felt 'Like an Earthquake' — and Then 'It Got Real Quiet,' Residents Say

As the search continues, Moore added that he has authorized “air, land and sea resources” to help find the six workers, who were filling potholes on the roadway when a container ship hit the bridge shortly before 1:30 a.m. Tuesday.

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Buttigieg, who said he has been in communication with Moore and other Maryland officials since early Tuesday morning, spoke about the emotional aspect of the tragedy.

<p>JIM LO SCALZO/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock</p>

JIM LO SCALZO/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

“This is an excruciating day for several families,” Buttigieg said about those “who woke up today to the news that no one wants to receive.”

"Our prayers are with the families of those who are lost at sea at this moment," added Sen. Ben Cardin.

Despite a report on Tuesday afternoon that a body had been recovered, a Baltimore city council member, who was quoted as the source of the information, confirmed to PEOPLE that they had misspoken.

Related: Coworker of 6 Construction Workers Still Missing After Baltimore Bridge Collapse Says They’re ‘Good People’

In Homendy’s press conference, the NTSB chair said that the agency has not verified the number of crew members onboard the container ship Dali yet and that the NTSB is helping the Coast Guard to lead the focus on the search and rescue effort.

With a team of 24 people onsite, the NTSB will obtain the ship’s recorders to help with the investigation at a later time, she said.

Related: Video Shows Horrifying Moment Francis Scott Key Bridge Collapses After Being Struck by Cargo Ship

As the search and rescue operations continue, Buttigieg offered his thoughts on how the loss of the bridge will affect the economy — and those who live in the area.

“There is no question that this will be a major and protracted impact to supply chains,” he said. “It's too soon to offer estimates on what it will take to clear the channel and reopen the port.”

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

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