I-95 collapse: Philadelphia authorities are working to identify a body recovered from the wreckage.



CNN

Officials are working to identify the body recovered from the wreckage Interstate 95 collapsed in PhiladelphiaCrews have begun around-the-clock efforts to demolish the collapsed East Coast Artery, which could take months to rebuild.

The highway overpass crashed around 6:20 a.m. Sunday when a truck carrying 8,500 gallons of gasoline crashed and burst into flames underneath, officials said. The truck was trying to go around a curve when it hit its side, crashed into a wall and caught fire, Pennsylvania Transportation Secretary Mike Carroll said Monday. The truck driver has not been identified, and authorities have not said whether the driver who was involved in the crash survived.

Officials said the fire caused the truck to roll over on northbound I-95. The southbound lanes have also been compromised, officials said, and should be repaired as well.

The National Transportation Safety Board has said it will launch its investigation and the tanker truck will be the initial focus of the investigation.

Mark Makela/Getty Images

Workers surveyed and removed debris from the site of the Interstate 95 crash on Monday.

The The body was recovered on Monday Handed over to the local medical examiner’s office.

Officials said the company that owns the truck is in contact with authorities and is complying with state police. State police did not identify the agency.

The mangled and charred wreckage of the truck could be seen being hauled away Monday as crews with heavy equipment worked through the wreckage. Demolition efforts could take up to five days, officials said.

But rebuilding that stretch of I-95, a major East Coast highway that carries about 160,000 vehicles daily through Philadelphia, could take months.

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Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg plans to visit the crash site on Tuesday, his spokesman Ben Hawley told CNN.

Buttigieg said his company is ready to help local officials quickly address the extensive disruption caused by the collapse. “To be clear, it’s not going to happen quickly overnight,” Butieck told reporters at an event hosted by the Council of American Engineering Institutions on Monday. “We’re talking about major structural work.”

Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro issued a disaster declaration on Monday, which he said would allow the state to dip into federal funds and cut red tape to speed up repairs. The Declaration $7 million in government funding is immediately available for renovations — though the total cost of the massive project is unclear.

Shapiro spoke with President Joe Biden on Monday, who “reaffirmed the federal government’s commitment to provide the resources necessary to safely and efficiently repair I-95.” Governor’s office said.

How long it will take to rebuild the collapsed bridge is yet to be determined.

The state Department of Transportation said the timeline will be released after engineers review it.

“Crews will be working around the clock to ensure demolition and reconstruction can proceed quickly and efficiently, and the roadway will reopen as soon as possible,” the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation said.

As machines hauled away pieces of the collapsed highway, a team of federal investigators began looking into how the tanker truck caused the fire and the highway collapse, National Transportation Safety Board President Jennifer Homandy told CNN.

On Monday, investigators were already on the scene as emergency response crews continued to sift through the wreckage to get to the vehicle, Homandy said.

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Matt Rourke/AP

An officer directs traffic on an alternate route Monday after a crash on Interstate 95 in Philadelphia.

The tanker was carrying gasoline for delivery at a local Wawa gas station.

“We’re going in and we’re thinking about what happened with the tanker truck,” Homandy said Monday, underscoring that the accident chain was unclear. “There are many different scenarios.”

According to Homandy, the inspectors can also examine the bridge’s structural makeup.

“Once they get in there and see it, they’ll see if there’s anything they want to see,” Homandy said. “It’s hard to tell right now without seeing them directly.”

Pennsylvania State Police said Monday that authorities will not open a criminal investigation into the collapse.

Just before the crash, Mark Fusetti was driving southbound on I-95 in Philadelphia and started filming when he saw dark smoke.

Fusetti’s cell phone footage shows his car and other vehicles driving A “dip” along I-95 Smoke billowed from both sides of the highway.

“I realized what had happened when I looked in my rearview mirror. I see 95 — all the cars stopped, and then I learned, after a while the road collapsed, and that’s what was really going on,” Fusetti told CNN’s Jim Acosta on Sunday.

Department Battalion Chief Derek Pomer previously reported smoke and fire under the highway, adding that “the explosions were caused by the flow of some fuel or gas lines that could have been compromised by the crash.”

The crumbling road is one of the city’s busiest interstates — a vital east coast route that supports Pennsylvania’s economy.

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Repair of highway Probably monthsShapiro said his office is looking at “alternatives to connect the road beyond the detours.”

Billy Kyle/Reuters

A collapsed section of Interstate 95 is seen in this still image obtained from a social media video.

Impacts could spread across the state and the greater Northeast. Buttigieg said the incident “will cause extensive disruption to the movement of people and goods through that area.”

He called it a “grim reminder of the importance of our infrastructure” at a meeting of the American Council of Engineering Companies on Monday.

Residents were warned of delays to garbage collection and bus routes in the area. All lanes of I-95 are closed between the Woodhaven and Aramingo exits, the city of Philadelphia said. Some surrounding streets have also been closed for emergency operations.

Commuters were forced to find new ways to get to work Monday morning, with traffic impacts extending beyond I-95.

“You don’t realize how much it cripples the city,” resident Ruth Acker said CNN affiliate WPVI.

“I’ve got to go to work. Stopped at Wawa — made a mistake — 45-minute detour to get to Wawa,” passenger Danny Rodriguez told WPVI.

Authorities in New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland are “very helpful” in managing I-95 traffic after the bridge collapse, state Transportation Secretary Carroll said Monday.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority added additional capacity and service to other transit lines and said it is evaluating all options to help travelers navigate around the highway ramp.

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