Washington [US], March 28: Divers recovered the remains on Wednesday of two of the six missing workers tossed into Baltimore Harbor from a highway bridge that collapsed into shipping lanes after being rammed by a faltering cargo freighter, officials said.
The bodies were pulled from the Patapsco River a day after the massive container ship lost power and its ability to maneuver before plowing into a support pylon of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, knocking most it into the water below.
A Maryland State Police official said the truck containing the bodies of the two men was found in about 25 feet of water near the mid-section of the fallen bridge. He also said that further efforts to recover remains were being suspended because of the increasingly treacherous conditions.
Four more workers who were part of a crew filling potholes on the bridge's road surface at the time remained missing and were declared on Tuesday night to be presumed dead, 18 hours after the crash.
Collapse of the bridge, a major highway artery across the harbor, forced an indefinite closure of the Port of Baltimore, one of the busiest on the U.S. Eastern Seaboard, handling more automobile and farm equipment freight.
Earlier in the day, federal investigators examined the cargo ship while emergency teams searched for bodies and details emerged of the intense efforts to save lives in the minutes before the steel span collapsed.
"Hold all traffic on the Key Bridge. There's a ship approaching that just lost their steering," someone said on police radio minutes before the 1:30 a.m. crash on Tuesday.
While voices were heard discussing next steps, including alerting any work crews to leave the bridge, one broke through to say: "The whole bridge just fell down!" The audio was carried by Broadcastify, an open-source audio streaming service.
The recording offered a glimpse of how authorities scrambled before the crash sent six bridge repair workers on the night shift to their deaths in the frigid black waters.
The Singapore-flagged Dali, a container ship the length of three football fields, had reported a loss of power before impact and dropped anchor to slow the vessel, giving authorities barely enough time to halt traffic on the bridge and likely prevent greater loss of life.
The disaster closed the Port of Baltimore and created a traffic quagmire for Baltimore and the densely populated region.
The bridge collapse could cost insurers billions of dollars in claims, analysts said, with one putting the cost at as much as $4 billion, which would make the tragedy a record shipping insurance loss.
Investigators from the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board recovered the data recorder after boarding the ship late on Tuesday and returned to the vessel on Wednesday to interview the ship's crew, other survivors and emergency responders, NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy said.
Rescuers pulled two workers from the water alive on Tuesday, and one was hospitalized.
The six presumed dead included immigrants from Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, officials said.
Source: Fijian Broadcasting Cooperation