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International Business Times
International Business Times
Kiran Tom Sajan

Baltimore Bridge Collapse: 2 Bodies Recovered; Search Efforts Paused To Clear Debris

Police have confirmed the recovery of the bodies of two construction workers from the Patapsco River, nearly 35 hours after the devastating collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore.

The victims were found trapped inside a red pickup truck submerged near the center of the collapsed span. Search efforts for the remaining four workers, who are presumed dead, have been temporarily halted due to unsafe conditions for divers.

The two victims whose bodies were recovered are Alejandro Hernandez Fuentes, 35, of Baltimore, and Dorlian Ronial Castillo Cabrera, 26, of Dundalk, Maryland, according to The Washington Post.

Two other people presumed dead are Miguel Luna, a father of three from El Salvador, and Maynor Suazo Sandoval, a father of two from Honduras who was about to celebrate his 39th birthday.

Maryland State Police Superintendent Col. Roland L. Butler said that vehicles are buried under concrete and debris from the bridge, posing a significant risk to search teams.

He said at a press conference that the search and rescue operation has been shifted to search and recovery now. Salvage operations are underway to clear the debris, and divers will resume their search for the remaining victims once it is safe.

Officials believe the workers were repairing potholes on the bridge at the time of the collapse.

The Baltimore District of the Army Corps of Engineers has mobilized over 1,100 engineering, construction, contracting, and operations specialists to assist local, state, and federal agencies in the aftermath of the collapse, according to NBC News.

At the time of the collision, the vessel was carrying 23 individuals, including two pilots.

On Tuesday night and Wednesday, a team from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) boarded the ship to collect evidence as part of their investigation.

Members of the ship's crew, including the captain, were interviewed by the agency as part of their investigation, according to CNN.

NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy said that 56 containers, holding a total of 760 tons of hazardous materials, were on board the cargo ship Dali at the time of the crash.

The primary contents of concern include corrosives, flammables, and "miscellaneous" hazardous materials, which reportedly include lithium-ion batteries.

"There has been some breaching of these containers," Homendy said, adding that visual evidence suggests a sheen on the water's surface, potentially indicating a leak.

The full extent of the damage and the number of breached containers remain unclear.

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