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Details emerge about 6 presumed dead as harrowing audio is released

via Guardian News
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Six construction workers are presumed dead after a cargo ship collided with the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, causing it to partially collapse.

The workers, employed by Brawner Builders, were identified as being from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico.

One was named as 49-year-old Miguel Luna from El Salvador, who had six children.

Two Guatemalans aged 26 and 35 were also among the missing.

Maryland Governor Wes Moore said rescue divers were conducting a recovery operation in difficult conditions to try and return the workers’ remains to their families.

“I spent a good part of yesterday with the families, praying with them, praying for them and praying for their peace. And I told them that we are going to put every effort — air, land and sea — for a search and rescue mission yesterday which we did, but now we have moved onto a recovery mission,” Maryland Gov. Wes Moore said. “We are going to spend every effort to make sure that we can bring them a sense of closure in this horrific incident.

“These divers are in the water right now as we speak. In pitch dark, where they can literally see a foot or two in front of them,” Moore added. “In cold water temperatures with heavy tides… and so the debt of gratitude our whole state has to these divers and to these first responders, it’s boundless.”

“They only tell us that we have to wait, that for now they can’t give us any information,” Luna’s wife María del Carmen Castellón said. “[We feel] devastated, devastated because our hearts are broken because we don’t know if they will have rescued them yet. We are just waiting for the news.”

Audio from before the collapse revealed police had stopped traffic on the bridge after being notified the approaching cargo ship had lost steering, but the bridge collapsed within minutes anyway.

“I need one of you guys on the south side, one of you guys on the north side, hold all traffic on the Key Bridge. There’s a ship approaching that just lost their steering so until we get that under control, we’ve got to stop all traffic,” an officer said.

“If we can stop traffic, just make sure no one is on the bridge right now. There is a crew out there, you might want to notify whoever the foreman is, see if we can get them off the bridge temporarily,” he added.

“10-4, once the other unit gets here I’ll ride up on the bridge. I have all inner loop traffic stopped at this time” an officer responded.

“The whole bridge just fell down! Start whoever, everybody — the whole bridge just collapsed!” another is later heard yelling.

“Do if we know all traffic was stopped?” one officer asked.

“I can’t get to the other side sir, the bridge is down,” another said.

Officials believe the rapid response of police likely prevented an even worse incident.

“They kept cars from coming on the bridge. Had these police officers and these law enforcement officers not done that, what was a catastrophic incident that we saw, would have been even more catastrophic,” Moore said.

“Two Guatemalans, 26 and 35 years old, originally from San Luis, Petén and Camotán, Chiquimula, respectively; are missing after the accident that occurred early this Tuesday, March 26, when a cargo ship lost control on the Patapsco River, colliding with the Francis Scott Key Bridge,” the Guatemalan Foreign Ministry stated.

“The Guatemalans were part of a total of eight workers who were repairing the asphalt on the bridge at the time of the accident,” it added. “Two men were rescued, but one of them is in critical condition.”

The cause of the ship’s control issues is under investigation.

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