Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse: Search resumes for 6 presumed dead

BALTIMORE — Authorities resumed the search Wednesday for six construction workers missing after a cargo ship hit the Francis Scott Key Bridge early Tuesday morning, causing it to collapse into the water.

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Divers returned to the site of the bridge collapse early on Wednesday, The Associated Press reported. In a text message to the news agency, Maryland State Police spokesperson Elena Russa confirmed that “recovery efforts are underway.”

Workers went missing when a cargo ship, Dali, hit one of the bridge’s supporting columns around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, knocking it into the water. At the time, the crew was filling potholes on the bridge, officials said.

Two people were later rescued from the waters. One person declined medical treatment while the other was released from a hospital hours after the incident.

On Tuesday night, officials with the U.S. Coast Guard said search efforts were shifting into the recovery phase due to the amount of time that had elapsed since the bridge collapse and the frigid water temperatures.

“We do not believe that we are going to find any of these individuals still alive,” Rear Adm. Shannon Gilreath said.

On Wednesday morning, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore told reporters that he remained focused on the search, which he called his “top priority.”

“We’ve got to bring these families closure,” he said. “I promised these families that I’d instruct every single asset we have to focus on that search and rescue. … Now that we’ve transitioned to the recovery phase, my promise to them is this: I will devote every single resource to making sure you receive closure.”

The workers were part of a crew from construction company Brawner Builders, officials said. Family members identified one of the missing workers as Miguel Luna, a Salvadoran father of three who has lived in Maryland for 19 years, The Baltimore Sun reported.

Jesus Campos, who worked alongside the missing workers at Brawner Builders, told The Baltimore Banner that the missing are from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico. He described them as “hard-working, humble men” who came to the U.S. to improve the lives of their families.

Officials said the Dali was leaving the Port of Baltimore early on Tuesday when it lost steering, prompting those on board to issue a mayday. Authorities were able to stop traffic and were preparing to get workers off the bridge when it collapsed.

Dispatch audio obtained by Sky News showed the bridge fell seconds after authorities confirmed that traffic had been stopped.

It remained unclear Wednesday what caused the Singapore-flagged Dali to lose power and hit the bridge. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.