Father of Three Missing after the Baltimore Bridge Collapse

On 26 March​ 2024, what the US Coast Guard classified as a major marine casualty, resulted in tragedy. A father of 3 has now been identified as one of the six presumed dead.

The tragedy occurred when the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore collapsed after a Singaporean-flagged container vessel struck a pillar on the 47-year-old bridge.

The identity of one of the six people, a CASA member, now presumed dead was shared in a heartfelt statement from CASA Executive Director Gustavo Torres.

“Sadly, we discovered that one of the construction workers involved was a longtime member of our CASA family, adding an even deeper layer of sorrow to this already grievous situation,” he stated.

Husband, father of three, El Salvadorian Miguel Luna, a Maryland resident for over 19 years, left for work on the bridge at 6:30 p.m., and he never returned home.

Miguel Luna’s wife, María del Carmen Castellón, is “devastated” at the turn of events as she said, “They only tell us that we have to wait, that right now they cannot give information. [We feel] devastated, devastated because our hearts are broken because we don’t know how they have been rescued yet. We are just waiting for the news.”

A colleague of the missing workers, Jesús Campos, added, “It hurts my heart to see what is happening. We are human beings and they are my coworkers,” Campos said. “First of all, God, be alive. It’s what you want most.”

More than 14 hours after the disaster, authorities announced the suspension of search and rescue efforts for the missing workers working on the bridge when it collapsed.

On Tuesday evening it still remained unclear how many vehicles fell into the water, or if there are any other victims. Initially, 8 workers on the bridge got caught up in the collapse, but emergency responders pulled two workers from the water early Tuesday.

One of the rescued workers was identified as an employee of Brawner Builders. Of the two rescued, one is uninjured and the other in “very serious condition.”

The tragedy occurred on Tuesday, just before 1:30 a.m., when the container vessel called DALI struck a bridge pillar.

According to the executive director and general counsel of the American Pilots Association, Clay Diamond, the ship’s local pilot did what he could to prevent it from drifting towards the bridge, but failed due to another unforeseen situation.

“Just minutes before the bridge, there was a total blackout on the ship, meaning that the ship lost engine power and electrical power, it was a complete blackout,” Diamond said.

Even though the pilot called for the anchor to be dropped, and for the rudder to steer the ship as far left as possible, it did little to prevent the collision.

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore elaborated on the situation in a statement.

“As a result (of the momentary loss of power), it was unable to maintain the desired heading and collided with the Francis Scott Key bridge,” the statement reportedly read.

The 984-foot-long vessel approached the bridge in the wrong part of the channel, instead of crossing right under the bridge where the clearance is the highest.

The NTSB has since launched a team to investigate the tragedy and will lead the investigation. Initial damage estimates to the bridge and ship are more than $ 500,000, and the Office of Marine Safety will investigate the probable cause.

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