Two bodies recovered in vehicle from Baltimore bridge collapse

Washington, Mar 28 (UNI) Officials said on Wednesday that the bodies of two people were recovered in a pickup truck earlier in the day from the bridge collapse site in the US city of Baltimore.

“Divers located a red pickup truck submerged and approximately 25 feet of water in the area of the middle span of the bridge. Divers recovered two victims of this tragedy trapped within the vehicle,” Maryland State Police Colonel Roland Butler told a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

Divers found two men, aged 35 and 26, respectively, shortly before 10 a.m. local time (1400 GMT) Wednesday, said Butler. He noted that operations have now been reclassified from search and recovery to “salvage recovery efforts.”

The latest development came a few hours after the U.S. Coast Guard officials said Tuesday evening that six construction workers missing after the bridge collapse were presumed dead, citing frigid water and the length of time since the accident. The Coast Guard also suspended its 18-hour search-and-rescue effort.

The 2.6-km-long Francis Scott Key Bridge, a major bridge that held Interstate 695, collapsed at about 1:30 a.m. (0530 GMT) early Tuesday morning after being hit by a Singapore-flagged large container ship, which experienced a power failure before the collision.

The six individuals who went missing, all road maintenance workers, were reportedly on the bridge repairing potholes when the collapse occurred.

Eight people initially went into the water and two were rescued from the Patapsco River earlier, with one in critical condition, according to local authorities.

“Why the folks on that bridge doing that dangerous work in the middle of the night had no direct line to emergency dispatch, when they are clearly working in a potentially hazardous environment and these massive mega ships are passing beneath their feet?” Maximillian Alvarez, editor-in-chief of the Baltimore-based news outlet The Real News, said in an interview with Democracy Now!

In a statement, Baltimore-headquartered immigration services non-profit Global Refuge said disasters like this one disproportionately affect the immigrant community of the city, as they frequently work in challenging and hazardous occupations.

“Bridges can be rebuilt, but the damage inflicted on these families can never fully be repaired,” the organization’s president and CEO Krish O’Mara Vignarajah said.

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