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Divers pull out 2 bodies from sunken truck in Baltimore bridge collapse

Written by  Annesha Barua -- March 28th 2024 08:18 AM
Divers pull out 2 bodies from sunken truck in Baltimore bridge collapse

Divers pull out 2 bodies from sunken truck in Baltimore bridge collapse

PTC News Desk: In a tragic turn of events, the bodies of two construction workers were recovered from the frigid waters of Baltimore harbor, ensnared in their red pickup truck after a colossal cargo ship collided with the bridge they had been repairing, leading to a deafening collapse. Maryland police made the somber announcement during a press conference, revealing that sonar imaging indicated the presence of additional vehicles trapped amidst the concrete and twisted metal remnants of the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

Out of the eight-member construction crew, it is feared that six have perished, leaving four bodies yet to be located. Authorities cautioned against immediate diving attempts into the wreckage due to safety concerns, opting instead for a salvage operation to dismantle the superstructure before proceeding with recovery efforts.

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

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The catastrophic incident unfolded when the container ship Dali, stretching approximately 1,000 feet in length and laden with cargo bound for Asia, suffered a power failure while departing the bustling port around 1:30 am on Tuesday. The vessel careened into a support column, resulting in the rapid collapse of nearly the entire steel bridge structure, obstructing one of the nation's busiest trading ports.

Prompt action following a distress call from the ship averted further casualties by enabling authorities to halt traffic on the bridge. However, the construction workers, engaged in repairing potholes directly above the ship's path, had no opportunity to evacuate.

The deceased workers were identified as Alejandro Hernandez Fuentes, 35, originally from Mexico and residing in Baltimore, and his 26-year-old colleague Dorlian Ronial Castillo Cabrera, a resident of Dundalk with Guatemalan origins. Their bodies were discovered submerged in 25 feet of water.

While two individuals were rescued from the water shortly after the collapse, with one escaping unharmed and the other discharged from the hospital the following day, four workers remain missing and are presumed dead amidst the tumultuous currents and wreckage.

Coast Guard Vice Admiral Peter Gautier assured reporters of the vessel's stability despite its entanglement in debris, noting the active involvement of the predominantly Indian crew in the ongoing investigation. The National Transportation Safety Board retrieved the ship's data recorder to facilitate inquiries into the circumstances leading to the collision.

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Despite concerns regarding potential environmental hazards posed by the cargo ship's contents, including billions of gallons of oil and several dozen hazardous material containers, officials asserted that the vessel did not present immediate danger. However, two of the 4,700 containers onboard were lost overboard.

The missing workers hailed from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico, described by their colleague Jesus Campos as diligent and humble individuals employed by contractor Brawner Builders. Among the presumed deceased was Miguel Luna, a father of three from El Salvador, whose absence has left his family and community devastated.

The impact of the bridge collapse reverberates beyond the loss of lives, disrupting the operations of the Port of Baltimore, the ninth-busiest major port in the United States. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg acknowledged the significant implications for supply chains, emphasising the arduous and costly task of rebuilding in the aftermath of the tragedy.

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