2 bodies recovered in wreckage of Baltimore bridge

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

BALTIMORE — Two bodies were recovered in the wreckage of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, officials announced on Wednesday evening.

Divers found the bodies in a red pickup truck shortly before 10 a.m. Wednesday near the middle span of the bridge in 25 feet of water. The recovered victims were Alejandro Hernandez Fuentes, 35, of Baltimore and Dorlian Ronial Castillo Cabrera, 26, of Dundalk. The two men were originally from Mexico and Guatemala, respectively.

Col. Roland Butler of the Maryland State Police said that the remaining vehicles that tumbled into the water after the collision are trapped in the superstructure of the bridge and divers are unable to safely access them at this time.

“Based on sonar scans, we firmly believe the vehicles are encased in the superstructure and concrete that we tragically saw come down,” Butler said during a press conference in Dundalk, near the site of the collapse.

The massive Baltimore bridge collapsed early Tuesday morning after the Dali, a Singaporean-flagged vessel, collided with a key support pillar after losing propulsion and steering.

All day Tuesday the U.S. Coast Guard conducted search and rescue operations in the area around the bridge. Late Tuesday evening officials said that the six missing men — a construction crew with Brawner Builders who were doing repairs at the time of the collapse — were presumed dead.

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore said that divers were in the water starting at 6 a.m. on Wednesday morning trying to recover the bodies.

With the end of active search and rescue operations, officials underscored the importance of clearing debris and reopening the shipping channel into the port.

The collapse of the bridge has big implications for the regional economy. The Port of Baltimore is a major U.S. entry point for cars, heavy trucks and agricultural machinery, and the bridge’s collapse means that the port will be closed until the debris can be cleared. Roughly 8,000 people work directly in the Port of Baltimore.

“The collapse of the Key Bridge is not just a local crisis,” said Moore, a Democrat. “It’s a global crisis. The port handles more cars and farm equipment than any other port in the country.”

Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen said that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will work to open the shipping channel as soon as possible and the federal government will foot the bill. He said the cost to clear debris alone could be between $40 and $50 million.

Van Hollen also expressed hope that Congress would move legislation forward in a bipartisan manner to support the rebuilding of the bridge.

“We think this is something where Americans can come together,” said Van Hollen. “We hope that all of our Congress will come together and join us to rebuild the bridge.”

Moore said that the state of Maryland had already submitted a request for emergency relief funds from the federal government.

“Our top priority is to get the shipping lane open,” said Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin. “We recognize we have to move with dispatch to open the channel. We are also working today on a replacement bridge.”