"Start, Start Whoever...Everybody," MD Police Officer Says after Seeing the Bridge Topple

March 27, 2024
Divers resumed searching Wednesday for six workers who were on the Francis Scott Key bridge when it collapsed.

Lia Russell, Dillon Mullan

Baltimore Sun


Authorities resumed the search Wednesday for six missing construction workers who fell into the Patapsco River after a cargo vessel struck the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore early Tuesday morning.

Gov. Wes Moore and representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard and Maryland State Police said Tuesday evening during a news conference in Dundalk that they would transition to a recovery operation to find the six men, who have not been officially identified, and are presumed to be dead after they fell into the river following the bridge’s collapse at 1:27 a.m. Tuesday.

Two others were rescued early Tuesday from the water, one of whom was treated and released from the hospital, according to officials.

Dump trucks headed toward the Patapsco River as crews from several state and federal agencies gathered at the MDTA headquarters. Gov. Wes Moore was on the scene early Wednesday and spoke briefly with National Transportation Safety Board chair Jennifer Homendy.

Moore said Tuesday that he had met with the families of the missing workers and promised to use “every possible asset at our disposal to make sure they find a sense of closure.”

Maryland State Police Superintendent Lt. Col. Roland Butler said Tuesday night that “changing conditions” had made it “dangerous for first responders and divers in the water,” but that surface ships would be on the river overnight and that divers would resume searching the river on Wednesday at 6 a.m.

U.S. Coast Guard Rear Adm. Shannon Gilreath cited the time elapsed since the collision, water temperature and extensive search efforts as reasons for suspending search-and-rescue efforts and transitioning to a “recovery operation.”

“At this point, we do not believe we are going to find any of these individuals still alive,” she said.

The construction workers were filling potholes on the bridge when the Singapore-flagged vessel, the Dali, struck one of its support columns, causing the expanse to collapse.

One employee who was not involved in the incident, Jesus Campos, said his missing co-workers were of Hispanic descent and were replacing concrete on the bridge at the time of the collision. The workers are all employees of the Hunt Valley firm Brawner Builders, according to Jeffrey Pritzker, its executive vice president.

The General Consulate of Guatemala in Maryland said in a Facebook post Tuesday that two of the missing workers were from that country.

One of the workers was identified by family members as Miguel Luna, a Salvadoran father of three who has lived in Maryland for 19 years. He and his five missing co-workers were the subject of Masses and vigils across the city Tuesday.

At a vigil at Mt. Olive Baptist Church, Baltimore City and Baltimore County officials appeared alongside faith leaders, thanking first responders for their efforts and promising to support the impacted families.

“We can only imagine what is going through [the families’] minds and through their hearts and through their bodies,” said Baltimore City Mayor Brandon Scott. “We have to lift them up, not just today, not just tomorrow but for the foreseeable future.

Catholic Archbishop William Lori, alongside other bishops, held a Mass in honor of the men on Tuesday. Father Ako Walker, a priest at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Highlandtown, offered prayers in Spanish for the families at a Dundalk vigil.

Baltimore Sun reporters Cassidy Jensen and Dan Belson contributed to this article.

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