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Coast Guard temporarily suspends search for six missing after Baltimore bridge collapse, presumed dead

Authorities explained that conditions for rescuers become more complicated at night due to low temperatures and the large amount of dangerous debris in the area.

Parte de la estructura de acero del puente Francis Scott Key se encuentra encima del buque portacontenedores Dali después de que el puente colapsara en Baltimore

Francis Scott Key Bridge (Kent Nishimura / AFP)

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Hopes of finding survivors are fading after authorities suspended active search and rescue efforts following the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore. Six people missing since the tragic incident have been declared dead.

Authorities presume that the six missing workers, who were part of the construction team in charge of repairing potholes on the Francis Scott Key bridge when the collision with the ship occurred, have died. “At this point, we do not believe that we’re going to find any of these individuals still alive,” said Rear Adm. Shannon Gilreath, commander of the Fifth District of the Coast Guard.

A senior executive of the company employing the workers also stated that they are considered deceased, given the depth of the water and the time that has passed since the accident.

Two people who fell into the water during the impact of the Singaporean ship against the bridge were rescued, but the situation is more grim for the other six.

Although authorities still hope to recover the bodies, the superintendent of the Maryland State Police, Roland L. Butler Jr., explained Tuesday night that the search and rescue mission had been temporarily suspended until 6 a.m. Wednesday, when an improvement in the difficult nighttime conditions is expected. Authorities said overnight conditions for rescuers are difficult due to cold temperatures and dangerous debris.

The accident

Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge partially collapsed in the early hours of Tuesday after a Singapore-flagged container ship (named the DALI) lost propulsion while leaving a nearby port and collapsed against the Baltimore structure. The impact caused large sections of the bridge to fall into the Patapsco River, disrupting a portion of Interstate 695.

The impact of the bridge collapse is not only the human lives lost, but it also threatens to disrupt shipping along the East Coast for months.