Police recover two bodies from Baltimore river

Authorities announced on Wednesday afternoon that the bodies of two of the workers who had gone missing after a bridge collapsed in Baltimore have been recovered.

The collapse occurred after a cargo ship collided with one of the support pillars of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, a four-lane, 2.5-kilometer-long structure located in Baltimore, approximately 62 kilometers northeast of Washington. The incident took place around 1:30 am, 0530 GMT,  on Tuesday morning.

The Maryland State Police, led by Roland Butler, announced on Wednesday that divers discovered a red pickup truck submerged about 7 meters deep. Inside the vehicle were the bodies of two victims, identified as a 35-year-old Mexican national and a 26-year-old Guatemalan national.

Butler mentioned in a press conference that the operation would transition from recovery to salvage due to the challenging conditions. The superstructure surrounding the vehicles, along with concrete and debris, hindered further search efforts, prompting the shift.

The U.S. Coast Guard had earlier decided to suspend the active search for survivors due to adverse conditions and low water temperature.

Butler confirmed that the victims were from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. Late on Tuesday, Guatemala had said that two of its citizens, aged 26 and 35, had been missing since the accident.

The immigrant organization Casa announced that one of its members was also missing. He was a father of three from El Salvador who had been living in Maryland for more than 19 years. He went to work on Monday evening and did not return home.

Citing the Mexican consul in Washington, Rafael Laveaga, U.S. media outlet CNN reported that Mexican citizens were also missing. It is not known how many.

“We know our people are involved,” Laveaga told journalists.

“It was a crew who was repairing parts of the, I think potholes on the bridge, and they’re the ones who are going to build the bridge again – the Latinos.”

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Eight construction workers were on the bridge repairing potholes at the time of the accident. Two people were rescued, according to Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul Wiedefeld.

Initial findings shows that, there was a problem with the ship’s power supply before the accident.

The crew of the ship sent a distress signal to authorities, notifying them that they had lost control of the vessel, according to U.S. officials. This prompt communication allowed officials on land to take action, halting traffic and preventing additional vehicles from reaching the bridge.

 

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