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

[ad_1]

BALTIMORE — Two bodies have been recovered from the Patapsco River as investigators move from a recovery mode to a salvage operation following the collapse of Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge earlier this week. Crews are searching for four others who fell into the water and are presumed dead.

The NTSB is raising a new concern, saying the cargo ship that crashed into the bridge was carrying hazardous materials, as the investigation moves into a new phase Thursday.

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

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

RELATED: Baltimore bridge collapse update: Investigators reveal timeline of events leading up to ship crash

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

This 2018 photo courtesy of Martin Suazo Sandoval shows Maynor Yassir Suazo Sandoval after attending a religious service in Baltimore, Maryland.

Martin Suazo Sandoval via AP

Luna is a father of three and Sandoval is a father of two.

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

As the investigation into the incident continues, officials say they will now have to wait for the debris to be removed before they can search and, hopefully, recovery the remaining victims.

‘Abundance of twisted metal’

Imagery from underwater drones shows “an abundance of twisted metal and debris” from the collapsed Key Bridge, making it unsafe for divers to enter the water, according to a new assessment of the situation from the Department of Homeland Security obtained Wednesday by ABC News.

According to the report, “one truck and trailer” has been recovered from the water and a vehicle remains hanging from the metal structure of the collapsed bridge.

Investigators also determined there are 13 damaged containers aboard the cargo ship that are being inspected for any potentially hazardous materials.

PHOTOS: Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore collapses after cargo ship rams into support column

A container ship rests against wreckage of the Francis Scott Key Bridge on Tuesday, March 26, 2024, as seen from Pasadena, Md.

AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein

“There is minor sheening on-scene. Booming has been ordered and is staged but will not be placed until search and rescue and dive operations are complete. The amount of potential oil spill is 1.8 [million] gallons of marine grade diesel,” according to the document.

During a White House press briefing Wednesday afternoon, Vice Adm. Peter Gautier, deputy commandant for operations for the U.S. Coast Guard, said the cargo ship was loaded with 4,700 containers, 56 of which contained hazardous materials.

“Most of these things are things like mineral oils and, even though they’re hazardous, we’ve determined that there really isn’t any kind of threat to the public,” said Gautier, adding that the two containers that went into the water did not contain hazardous materials.

MORE | 10 other ships stuck in Port of Baltimore

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, Md., on Tuesday, March 26, 2024.

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, Md., on Tuesday, March 26, 2024.

Maxaar Technologies via AP

Gautier also said there was no sign that the container ship was leaking fuel or was taking on water.

At the same White House press briefing, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said that while there is no estimate yet on how much it will cost to rebuild the bridge, he said it “will not be quick, easy or cheap.”

‘Abundance of twisted metal’

Imagery from underwater drones shows “an abundance of twisted metal and debris” from the collapsed Key Bridge, making it unsafe for divers to enter the water, according to a new assessment of the situation from the Department of Homeland Security obtained Wednesday by ABC News.

According to the report, “one truck and trailer” has been recovered from the water and a vehicle remains hanging from the metal structure of the collapsed bridge.

Investigators also determined there are 13 damaged containers aboard the cargo ship that are being inspected for any potentially hazardous materials.

RELATED: NTSB combing through voyage-data recorder to build crash timeline in Baltimore bridge collapse

“There is minor sheening on-scene. Booming has been ordered and is staged but will not be placed until search and rescue and dive operations are complete. The amount of potential oil spill is 1.8 [million] gallons of marine grade diesel,” according to the document.

During a White House press briefing Wednesday afternoon, Vice Adm. Peter Gautier, deputy commandant for operations for the U.S. Coast Guard, said the cargo ship was loaded with 4,700 containers, 56 of which contained hazardous materials.

“Most of these things are things like mineral oils and, even though they’re hazardous, we’ve determined that there really isn’t any kind of threat to the public,” said Gautier, adding that the two containers that went into the water did not contain hazardous materials.

MORE | 10 other ships stuck in Port of Baltimore

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, Md., on Tuesday, March 26, 2024.

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, Md., on Tuesday, March 26, 2024.

Maxaar Technologies via AP

Gautier also said there was no sign that the container ship was leaking fuel or was taking on water.

At the same White House press briefing, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said that while there is no estimate yet on how much it will cost to rebuild the bridge, he said it “will not be quick, easy or cheap.”

Ship was carrying hazardous materials: NTSB

A hazmat investigator looked into the cargo on the container ship and identified 56 containers of hazardous materials, National Transportation Safety Board Chair Jennifer Homendy said Wednesday evening.

The 56 containers hold 764 tons of hazardous materials that include “mostly corrosives, flammables, and miscellaneous Class 9 hazardous materials, which would include lithium-ion batteries,” Homendy said.

Some of the hazmat containers had been “breached,” and there has been “sheen” seen on the waterway, which state and local authorities are aware of and investigating, according to officials.

Homendy said it wasn’t known how many hazardous containers were in the water after the incident.

There were 23 people aboard Dali at the time of the collision, 21 crew members and two pilots, according to the NTSB chair.

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

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

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

Officials said on Wednesday that the quality of audio from the box “varies wildly” because of the high level of background noise, which will have to be filtered out to improve the audio quality.

They expect to recover 30 days of data from the data recorders, she said.

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

NTSB gives update on March 27, 2024, following Baltimore bridge collapse

Previous deficiencies found on cargo ship

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

“We are horrified by what has happened in Baltimore, and our thoughts are with all of those affected. We can confirm that the container vessel ‘DALI’, operated by charter vessel company Synergy Group, is time chartered by Maersk and is carrying Maersk customers’ cargo. No Maersk crew and personnel were onboard the vessel. We are closely following the investigations conducted by authorities and Synergy, and we will do our utmost to keep our customers informed,” the Maersk spokesperson said.

The Dali cargo ship had two deficiencies since it was built in 2015, according to records from the Electronic Quality Shipping Information System (Equasis).

The most recent deficiency was given on June 27, 2023, during an inspection in the port of San Antonio, Chile. The deficiency was for “propulsion and auxiliary machinery” concerning gauges and thermometers, according to Equasis. The other deficiency was given in 2016 for “structural conditions” concerning a damaged hull “impairing seaworthiness.”

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

The records show that the last inspection of the container ship was on Sept. 13, 2023, in New York.

Dramatic security video captured the vessel striking one of the main support columns holding up the center cantilevered section of the bridge, causing the span to break apart in several sections and sending twisted metal into the water onto the bow of the Dali as black smoke began to pour from the vessel.

Multiple vehicles plunged 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 and survived, including one who ran from the bridge and the other who fell into the water and swam ashore, according to the latest internal Department of Homeland Security briefing obtained by ABC News.

Just minutes before the crash, the video showed traffic flowing on the bridge, but the traffic almost disappeared before impact.

After reviewing traffic cameras, Maryland transportation officials confirmed “no vehicles [were] transiting the bridge at the time of the incident,” according to the latest internal Department of Homeland Security briefing obtained by ABC News.

The pilot who was at the controls of the ship “is currently undergoing post-accident Drug and Alcohol Testing,” the briefing said.

The Dali “remains impaled in the bridge,” the document said, adding that several shipping containers with undisclosed cargo fell into the water. There is hull damage above the water line of the vessel, but the ship is maintaining watertight integrity,” according to the document.

Had the crash occurred a few hours later at the height of the morning commute the bridge would have likely been packed with commuters. The bridge is part of the heavily traveled Interstate 695 linking Baltimore to Washington, D.C. 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, which opened on March 23, 1977, had just celebrated its 47th anniversary.

The crash shut down the seaport, which serves more than 50 ocean carrier companies whose vessels make about 1,800 annual visits to the port, according to state officials.

How the collapse happened

Just hours before the Tuesday morning commute was to get underway, the crew of a massive cargo ship leaving Baltimore harbor lost propulsion and control of the vessel, causing it to crash into a support column of the Key Bridge, triggering a catastrophic collapse of the 1.6-mile long span and sending vehicles and people into the water, officials said.

The transportation disaster unfolded about 1:35 a.m., prompting a major emergency response from Baltimore police, firefighters and the U.S. Coast Guard as authorities estimated that up to 20 vehicles went into the water along with several workers who were part of a maintenance team fixing potholes on the span, officials said.

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

Maryland Department of Transportation Secretary Paul Wiedefeld said the depth of the water in the area where the crash occurred is about 50 feet.

NTSB releases new video as investigation into Baltimore bridge collapse continues

What we know about the missing workers

We’re learning more about those who have died as the search continues for the remaining missing workers in the Patapsco River.

The workers were part of the maintenance crew repairing the asphalt on the bridge.

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

Miguel Luna, who was originally from El Salvador was a married father of three children.

Another missing victim was identified as Maynor Suazo Sandoval, a father of two who migrated from Honduras over 17 years ago, according to Gustavo Torres, the executive director of CASA, an immigration and Latino advocacy-and-assistance organization.

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

Other workers who remain unaccounted for are believed to be from Mexico and Honduras.

Copyright © 2024 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved.

[ad_2]

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *