Bodies Of Two Missing Bridge Workers Recovered As Salvage Operation Begins

Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge Collapses After Being Struck By Cargo Ship

Photo: Tasos Katopodis / Getty Images News / Getty Images

Authorities recovered the bodies of two bridge workers from the Patapsco River but are calling off the search for the other four victims, who are presumed to be dead following the collapse of the Francis Key Scott Bridge in Baltimore.

Maryland State Police Superintendent Roland Butler identified the victims as 35-year-old Alejandro Hernandez Fuentes and 26-year-old Dorlian Castillo Cabrera.

"Based upon the conditions, we're now moving from a recovery mode to a salvage operation because of the superstructure surrounding what we believe are the vehicles and the amount of concrete and debris, divers are no longer able to safely navigate or operate around that in the areas around this wreckage," Butler said.

One thousand U.S. Army Corps of Engineers members were dispatched to Baltimore to help clear the blocked shipping channel. Lt. Gen. Scott Spellmon, commander and chief of engineers, said that removing the debris will be a three-step process.

The first order of business is to remove the steel trust from the 700-foot-wide by 50-foot-deep channel. Once that is done, they will check the bottom of the channel for any concrete and steel parts that need to be removed.

Once that is done, officials can open the Port of Baltimore to one-way traffic.

The second step involves stabilizing the containers on top of the cargo ship that crashed into the bridge, causing it to collapse into the river. They must also remove the trust that crashed onto the top of the vessel so it can be tugged to a safe location. Once the ship has been cleared out of the way, they will be able to open to port up to two-way traffic.

After the port has reopened, crews will work to remove the remaining debris that sank to the bottom of the river.

Spellmon did not say how long the salvage operation would take.

"We're up to this task. We have what we need," Spellmon said.

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