Two dead in Baltimore bridge collision

Photo courtesy of Thai PBS World

The bodies of two construction workers were discovered submerged in the frigid depths of Baltimore harbour, trapped in their pickup truck after a cargo vessel careened into the bridge they were repairing.

Maryland authorities, grappling with the grim revelation, revealed at a press briefing that sonar imaging suggests additional vehicles lie entombed amidst the rubble of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, their occupants’ fates hanging in the balance.

With six of the eight-man crew presumed dead and four bodies still unaccounted for, police cautioned against perilous diving attempts amidst the wreckage. Instead, they disclosed plans for a salvage mission, intending to dismantle the debris-laden superstructure before recommencing recovery efforts.

Colonel Roland Butler, superintendent of Maryland’s state police asserted that based on sonar scans, it is believed that the vehicles were encased in the superstructure and concrete that came down.

Federal investigators, shedding light on the calamity, outlined a harrowing timeline gleaned from the ship’s voice data recorder.

Marcel Muise, the lead investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board, elucidated that the container ship Dali, stretching a formidable 1,000 feet and laden with cargo bound for Asia, departed dock at 12.39am local time (11.39am Thailand time) on Tuesday.

Alarms blared at 1.24am, signalling power complications aboard the vessel as it careened towards the bridge, prompting a distress call to port authorities for assistance. The ensuing collision, captured at 1.29am by the voice data recorder, precipitated the catastrophic collapse of the bridge, obliterating a vital artery of US trade.

Tragically, there was no opportunity for the eight workers, filling potholes atop the bridge, to escape the impending disaster.

Identified among the deceased were Alejandro Hernandez Fuentes, a Baltimore resident hailing from Mexico, and his colleague Dorlian Ronial Castillo Cabrera, a resident of Dundalk with roots in Guatemala. As the investigation unfolds, families anxiously await news of their missing loved ones, spanning nationalities from El Salvador to Mexico, reported Thai PBS World.

Meanwhile, amidst the wreckage, two workers were rescued from the icy waters, while the fate of their comrades remains uncertain.

With the vessel trapped in the debris, Coast Guard Vice Admiral Peter Gautier assured that environmental risks were contained, alleviating concerns over hazardous materials aboard the ship.

ORIGINAL STORY: Baltimore bridge collapse prompts urgent search (video)

A cargo ship collision caused the collapse of a bridge in Baltimore, leading to multiple cars plunging into the water and triggering a search for eight missing individuals.

President of the United States Joe Biden has pledged to fast-track the reconstruction of the damaged bridge and port facilities. This commitment was made following the incident, which occurred early on Tuesday in Baltimore, Maryland.

The Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed into the Patapsco River after being struck by the Singapore-flagged cargo ship Dali around 1.30am on Tuesday. The impact damaged a critical load-bearing pillar of the bridge.

At the time of the accident, several vehicles were on the bridge, and divers are now endeavouring to locate the eight missing individuals, who are believed to be an all-highway maintenance crew that fell into the river amid temperatures around 9 degrees Celsius. Rescue teams are racing against time to find six workers still unaccounted for.

From the White House yesterday, March 26, President Joe Biden stated his intention to request Congress allocate funds to rebuild the bridge and announced plans to visit the disaster site as soon as possible. Additionally, the President clarified that there is no reason to suspect terrorism in this incident.

Maryland Governor Wes Moore declared a state of emergency to facilitate federal support in dealing with the aftermath of the bridge collapse.

Brandon Scott, Mayor of Baltimore, described the occurrence as an unexpected tragedy, while Baltimore Police Chief Richard Worley noted that there were no indications of a deliberate act in the bridge collision.

Synergy Marine Corp, the company managing the Dali, assured that the captain and crew are safe and there have been no injuries reported, reported Sanook.

The 47 year old Francis Scott Key Bridge, spanning 2.5 kilometres, connects Highway 695 to downtown Baltimore, home to one of the largest ports in the United States. Named after the author of The Star Spangled Banner, which later became the national anthem, the bridge’s integrity is now a matter of urgent concern, given its age and importance to the area’s infrastructure.

Thailand NewsWorld News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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