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Latest on Baltimore bridge collapse as investigation moves from recovery mode to rescue operation, 4 victims still missing

BALTIMORE– Crews in Baltimore are beginning to remove debris at the site of the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse on Tuesday. Investigators also plan to continue interviewing members of the Dali’s crew aboard the ship.

This, as we learn more about the six construction workers trapped in the collapse. Two of the victims’ bodies were recovered on Wednesday, four are still missing and others are presumed dead.

Those construction workers were members of the community and had families who depended on them, according to Maryland officials.

As he walked away from the bridge and literally saw the bridge fall right after he walked away.

Maryland Governor Wes Moore (D)

So far, the youngest victim we know of is 26 years old.

Crews returned Thursday to recover the missing and begin the process of reopening this busy port.

MORE | 10 more ships stranded in Baltimore Harbor

This satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies shows a view of the Francis Scott Key Bridge that was struck by a container ship in Baltimore, Maryland, on Tuesday, March 26, 2024.

Maxaar Technologies via AP

The search for answers in Baltimore takes place both on and around the freighter Dali.

“It’s total devastation,” said NTSB Chairwoman Jennifer Homendy.

How the collapse occurred

Just hours before the Tuesday morning voyage was to begin, the crew of a massive freighter leaving Baltimore Harbor lost propulsion and control of the ship, causing it to crash into a support column of the Key Bridge. , which caused a catastrophic collapse of the 1.6. -miles long and sending vehicles and people into the water, authorities said.

The shipping disaster unfolded around 1:35 a.m., prompting a major emergency response by Baltimore police, firefighters and the U.S. Coast Guard, as authorities estimated that up to 20 Vehicles fell into the water along with several workers who were part of a maintenance team repairing potholes. in the stretch, officials said.

“I can tell you that our sonar has detected the presence of vehicles submerged in water,” Baltimore City Fire Chief James Wallace said at a news conference early Tuesday.

NTSB releases new video as investigation into Baltimore bridge collapse continues

Investigators have reviewed the ship’s data recorder to better understand the moments leading up to the fatal collision.

RELATED: Baltimore Bridge Collapse Update: Investigators Reveal Timeline of Events Leading to Boat Accident

It shows alarms sounding immediately after the ship’s lights go out, followed by efforts to change course and then the distress call. Everything happens in five minutes.

The 56 containers contain 764 tons of hazardous materials including “primarily corrosive, flammable and various Class 9 hazardous materials, which would include lithium-ion batteries,” Homendy said.

Some of the hazardous materials containers had been “broken” and “shining” had been seen in the waterway, something state and local authorities are aware of and investigating, according to officials.

Homendy said it was not known how many dangerous containers were in the water after the incident.

According to the NTSB chairman, there were 23 people aboard the Dali at the time of the collision, 21 crew members and two pilots.

During the briefing, Homedy said the data recorders they have access to are considered basic compared to those on a commercial airliner.

The ship’s voice data recorder captured only limited information, he said.

The US Coast Guard provided the NTSB with six hours of data between midnight and 6 a.m. ET upon arrival.

Officials said Wednesday that the box’s audio quality “varies wildly” due to the high level of background noise, which will need to be filtered out to improve audio quality.

They hope to recover 30 days of data from the data loggers, he said.

In addressing the collision, the NTSB said current data points to a power outage, but they have not confirmed that or a possible reason for the likely power outage.

NTSB Provides Update on March 27, 2024, Following Baltimore Bridge Collapse

4 victims remain in the water

Still in the water are four of the six victims who authorities say died after falling from the Key Bridge when it collapsed.

Divers have recovered the bodies of two of the missing workers, identified as Alejandro Hernández Fuentes, 35, and Dorlian Ronial Castillo Cabrera, 26. Both were pulled from a pickup truck Wednesday that was discovered submerged in water.

RELATED: What we know about missing workers after Baltimore bridge collapse as recovery efforts resume

“Divers located a red pickup truck submerged in approximately 25 feet of water. Divers recovered two victims of this tragedy, trapped inside the vehicle,” said Col. Roland Butler of the Maryland State Police.

Among the four still missing and presumed dead are Miguel Luna, from El Salvador, and Maynor Yassir Suazo Sandoval, from Honduras.

Luna is the father of three children and Sandoval is the father of two.

“Maynor and Miguel are just two stories, two specific examples of thousands and thousands of Baltimoreans who are making a contribution to this beautiful country,” said Gustavo Torres, executive director of CASA.

RELATED: Central American and Mexican families mourn victims of Baltimore bridge collapse

This 2018 photograph, courtesy of Martín Suazo Sandoval, shows Maynor Yassir Suazo Sandoval after attending a church service in Baltimore, Maryland.

Martín Suazo Sandoval via AP

Sandoval emigrated from Honduras more than 17 years ago, according to Gustavo Torres, executive director of CASA, an advocacy and assistance organization for immigrants and Latinos.

He dreamed of starting a small business and brought joy and humor to his family, Torres told reporters Wednesday.

Other workers whose whereabouts remain missing are believed to be from Mexico and Honduras.

Maryland officials credit the quick action of dispatchers and police to prevent more drivers from traveling over the bridge, saying they undoubtedly saved lives.

RELATED: Authorities stopped traffic on Baltimore’s Key Bridge before collapse: ‘These people are heroes’

Including one of the two surviving construction workers who told the governor he heard an officer tell him to get off the bridge, so he fled.

“As he walked off the bridge and he literally saw the bridge fall right after he walked away,” said Maryland Gov. Wes Moore (D).

The full NTSB investigation could take more than a year to complete, so we may not have clarity as to why the power was shut off for some time.

The next priority, officials say, is to reopen this port, as it is the busiest in the United States for cars and farm equipment.

Previous deficiencies found on cargo ship

Danish shipping company Maersk chartered the freighter Dali, a company spokesperson told ABC News in a statement.

“We are horrified by what has happened in Baltimore, and our thoughts are with all those affected. We can confirm that the container ship ‘DALI’, operated by charter company Synergy Group, is time chartered by Maersk and is carrying customers “There were no Maersk crew or personnel on board the ship. We are closely following the investigations carried out by the authorities and Synergy, and will do our best to keep our customers informed,” the Maersk spokesperson said.

The Dalí freighter presented two deficiencies since its construction in 2015, according to records from the Electronic Shipping Quality Information System (Equasis).

The most recent deficiency occurred on June 27, 2023, during an inspection at the port of San Antonio, Chile. According to Equasis, the deficiency concerned “auxiliary and propulsion machinery” in relation to meters and thermometers. The other deficiency was imposed in 2016 for “structural conditions” related to a damaged hull that “impairs seaworthiness.”

Records show the container ship was last inspected on September 13, 2023 in New York.

Dramatic security video captured the ship striking one of the main support columns supporting the bridge’s cantilevered center section, causing the span to break into several sections and sending twisted metal into the water over the Dali’s bow as the black smoke began to rise. pour from the container.

Several vehicles fell from the bridge at the time of the collapse, the Baltimore City Fire Department said.

Two of the construction workers who were on the bridge survived, including one who fled the bridge and the other who fell into the water and swam to shore, according to the latest internal Department of Homeland Security report obtained by ABC News.

Just minutes before the crash, video showed traffic flowing across the bridge, but the traffic nearly disappeared before impact.

After reviewing traffic cameras, Maryland transportation officials confirmed that “there are no vehicles [were] traveling on the bridge at the time of the incident,” according to the latest internal report from the Department of Homeland Security obtained by ABC News.

The pilot who was flying the ship “is currently undergoing drug and alcohol testing following the accident,” according to the report.

The Dalí “remains impaled on the bridge,” the document says, adding that several containers with undisclosed cargo fell into the water. “There is damage to the hull above the vessel’s waterline, but the vessel maintains its watertight integrity,” according to the document.

If the accident had occurred a few hours later, at the height of the morning commute, the bridge would likely have been packed with travelers. The bridge is part of the heavily traveled Interstate 695 that links Baltimore to Washington, DC. An estimated 11.5 million vehicles cross the bridge annually, or about 30,000 per day, according to the Maryland Department of Transportation.

The bridge, inaugurated on March 23, 1977, had just celebrated its 47th anniversary.

The accident closed the seaport, which serves more than 50 shipping companies whose ships make about 1,800 port visits annually, according to state officials.

ABC News contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2024 WABC-TV. All rights reserved.

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