Baltimore Key Bridge: First of six workers feared dead are named as father-of-six Miguel Luna, 49, whose shattered wife says ‘my heart hurts’ and Maynor Suazo, 37, as rescue mission switches to recovery

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • Miguel Luna, 49, was working the graveyard shift on the bridge when the Dali ship lost propulsion and caused the collapse of the iconic Francis Scott Key bridge 

Two of the six construction crew members, thrown into the frigid waters of the Patapsco River when a container ship collided with the bridge they were working on, have been named. 

Miguel Luna, 49, was on the graveyard shift with the rest of his Hispanic crew when the Dali ship lost propulsion and caused the collapse of the iconic Francis Scott Key bridge. Luna, a father of six, is now presumed dead.  

‘They only tell us that we have to wait, that for now, they can’t give us information. [We feel] devastated, devastated because our heart is broken, because we don’t know if they’ve rescued them yet. We’re just waiting to hear any news,’ his wife, Maria del Carmen Castellon told Telemundo 44.

A second man, Maynor Suazo, 37, a native of Honduras was identified in his homeland as another worker who is missing and presumed to be dead. Suazo, a father of two, had been living in the US for the past 18 years. 

Guatemala’s consulate in Maryland said in a statement that two of the missing were citizens of the Central American nation. It did not provide their names but said consular officials were in contact with authorities and assisting the families.

Mexican officials have said that some of their citizens are missing but did not say how many. 

The first of the six: Miguel Luna, 49, was the first missing construction worker identified following the collapse

Maynor Suazo, 37, a native of Honduras has been named as the other man missing and presumed dead

Maynor Suazo, 37, a native of Honduras has been named as the other man missing and presumed dead 

'They only tell us that we have to wait, that for now, they can't give us information. [We feel] devastated, devastated because our heart is broken,' Luna's wife told a local news outlet

‘They only tell us that we have to wait, that for now, they can’t give us information. [We feel] devastated, devastated because our heart is broken,’ Luna’s wife told a local news outlet

Miguel Luna, 49, was working the graveyard shift on the bridge when the Dali ship lost propulsion and caused the collapse of the iconic Francis Scott Key bridge

Miguel Luna, 49, was working the graveyard shift on the bridge when the Dali ship lost propulsion and caused the collapse of the iconic Francis Scott Key bridge

People look out toward the Francis Scott Key Bridge following its collapse after the Singapore-flagged Dali container ship collided with it along the Patapsco River on March 26

People look out toward the Francis Scott Key Bridge following its collapse after the Singapore-flagged Dali container ship collided with it along the Patapsco River on March 26

Maynor Suazo’s brother, Martin, told Honduran television that his brother was a native of Santa Barbara, in the western part of the country, Martin said that his brother emigrated in order to ‘improve the quality of his life.’

Martin said that he plans to travel to the United States in order to repatriate his brother’s remains. 

In a separate interview with CNN, Martin confirmed that Suazo is survived by his son, 18, and daughter, five. In that interview, Martin reiterated his brother’s desire for a better life in the US and said that he had also started his own maintenance company. 

‘Maynor Suazo was a guy with warmth, quality of people, entrepreneur with a vision and mission to serve our community,’ a family friend wrote in a touching Facebook tribute.  

The ship’s crew issued a mayday call moments before the crash took down the Francis Scott Key Bridge, enabling authorities to limit vehicle traffic on the span, Maryland’s governor said.

As the vessel neared the bridge, puffs of black smoke could be seen as the lights flickered on and off. It struck one of the bridge’s supports, causing the structure to collapse like a toy, and a section of the span came to rest on the bow.

With the ship barreling toward the bridge at ‘a very, very rapid speed,’ authorities had just enough time to stop cars from coming over the bridge, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore said.

‘These people are heroes,’ Moore said. ‘They saved lives last night.’

Luna and the rest of his construction crew are now considered dead

Luna and the rest of his construction crew are now considered dead 

Maynor Suazo's brother, Martin, said in various interviews that his brother came to the US in search of a better quality of life

Maynor Suazo’s brother, Martin, said in various interviews that his brother came to the US in search of a better quality of life

In the evening, Col. Roland L. Butler Jr., superintendent for Maryland State Police, announced that the search and rescue mission was transitioning to one of search and recovery. 

He also said the search was being put on pause and divers would return to the site at 6 a.m. Wednesday, when challenging overnight conditions were expected to improve. No bodies have been recovered, Butler said.

The crash happened in the middle of the night, long before the busy morning commute on the bridge that stretches 1.6 miles and was used by 12 million vehicles last year.

The six missing people were part of a construction crew filling potholes on the bridge, said Paul Wiedefeld, the state’s transportation secretary. 

A senior executive at the company that employed the workers also said, in the afternoon, that the workers were presumed dead given the water’s depth and how much time had passed.

Jeffrey Pritzker, executive vice president of Brawner Builders, said the crew was working in the middle of the bridge when it came down.

‘This was so completely unforeseen,’ Pritzker said. ‘We don’t know what else to say. We take such great pride in safety, and we have cones and signs and lights and barriers and flaggers.’

Jesus Campos, who has worked on the bridge for Brawner Builders and knows members of the crew, said he was told they were on a break and some were sitting in their trucks. 

‘I know that a month ago, I was there, and I know what it feels like when the trailers pass,’ Campos said. ‘Imagine knowing that is falling. It is so hard. One would not know what to do.’

Father Ako Walker, a Roman Catholic priest at Sacred Heart of Jesus, said he spent time with the families of the missing workers as they waited for news of their loved ones.

‘You can see the pain etched on their faces,’ Walker said.

Rescuers pulled two people out of the water, one of whom was treated at a hospital and discharged hours later. Multiple vehicles also went into the river, although authorities did not believe anyone was inside.

‘It looked like something out of an action movie,’ Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott said, calling it ‘an unthinkable tragedy.’

 

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