Authorities recover two bodies from Baltimore bridge collapse | WORLD
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Authorities recover two bodies from Baltimore bridge collapse

The cargo ship Dali under part of the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge The National Transportation Safety Board via Associated Press/Photo uncredited

Authorities recover two bodies from Baltimore bridge collapse

Recovery divers pulled two bodies from the Patapsco River on Wednesday near the center of the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge, according to Maryland State Police. Superintendent Col. Roland L. Butler said 35-year-old Alejandro Hernandez Fuentes and 26-year-old Dorlian Ronial Castillo Cabrera were found in a truck 25 feet underwater. Authorities suspended further recovery attempts, citing mounting safety concerns. “Based on sonar scans, we firmly believe that the vehicles are encased in the superstructure and concrete,” Butler said. The two men were part of a six-person construction crew filling potholes on the bridge when it collapsed early Tuesday morning. The four other crew members are presumed dead. The Port of Baltimore, one of the busiest waterways in the United States, will remain closed to maritime traffic until further notice.

Are there more details on the crash? The National Transportation Safety Board, or NTSB,  is leading the investigation into the collapse. Preliminary reports show a nearly 1,000-foot-long Singaporean cargo ship, Dali, lost power and crashed into a bridge support. The bridge, which is more than a mile-and-a-half long, collapsed just before 2 a.m., sending cars and construction workers into the river. Crew members onboard the Dali contacted Maryland authorities after losing power, allowing law enforcement to close the bridge about 90 seconds before the collapse. All 22 crew members of the ship are accounted for after a piece of the bridge fell on the bow of the Dali, trapping the boat in the water.

Are authorities saying whether the crash was an accident?  Authorities including Maryland Gov. Wes Moore and U.S. President Joe Biden, have said there is no evidence the incident was intentional. However, coordinated investigations by the Coast Guard Headquarters and the Office of Marine Safety and NTSB are ongoing.  Investigators have found the ship was undergoing “routine engine maintenance” before it lost power, according to U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Shannon Gilreath. The Singaporean government is also aiding U.S. authorities in the investigation since the Dali was sailing under the country’s flag. Singapore’s Transport Safety Investigation Bureau is also investigating the crash independently.

Is it true the federal government is paying for the bridge rebuild? Biden said on Tuesday that he intends for Congress to allocate federal funds to rebuild the bridge and streamline the rebuilding process. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said that all parties responsible for the crash “will be held accountable.” Buttigieg also emphasized that “Rebuilding will not be quick or easy or cheap” and warned that the port closure will cause supply chain problems. NTSB has said the the damages to the bridge and ship will be costly without providing detailed estimates.

Christina Grube

Christina Grube is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute.

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