Bodies of two victims of Baltimore bridge collapse recovered

The bodies of two of the workers who went missing when a bridge in Baltimore, United States of America collapsed after a cargo ship crashed into it have been recovered, authorities said on Wednesday afternoon.

A cargo ship rammed into one of the support pillars of the four-lane, 2.5km-long Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore.

The hitting of the bridge, which is about 62 kilometres north-east of Washington, occurred around 1:30am (0530 GMT) on Tuesday, causing it to collapse.

Maryland State Police’s Roland Butler said on Wednesday at about 10am divers located a red pick up truck about seven metres deep and found the bodies of two victims trapped in the vehicle.

They were identified as a 35-year-old Mexico national and a 26-year-old Guatemala national.

Butler also said the authorities would be moving from recovery mode to a salvage operation in a press conference on Wednesday evening

“Because of the superstructure surrounding what we believe were the vehicles and the amount of concrete and debris, divers are no longer able to safely navigate and operate around that,” Butler said.

“We have exhausted all search efforts.”

On Tuesday afternoon, the US Coast Guard had said that the active search for survivors would be suspended due to the low water temperature and adverse conditions.

Six construction workers who went missing when the bridge collapsed were all presumed dead.

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 organisation 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, US 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.”

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

According to initial findings, there was a problem with the ship’s power supply before the accident.

The crew managed to inform the authorities by distress signal that they had lost control of the ship, the U.S. authorities said.

This apparently enabled officials on land to stop traffic and prevent more cars from reaching the bridge. 


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