On March 26, 2024, what the US Coast Guard categorized as a significant marine incident resulted in a tragic event. Among the presumed deceased are six individuals, one of whom has been identified as a father of three.

The tragedy unfolded when the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore collapsed following a collision with a Singaporean-flagged container vessel striking a pillar on the aging 47-year-old structure.

In a heartfelt statement from CASA Executive Director Gustavo Torres, it was revealed that one of the presumed deceased was a longstanding member of the CASA community, adding an additional layer of grief to the already sorrowful situation.

Miguel Luna, a husband and father of three from El Salvador who had been a resident of Maryland for over 19 years, left for work on the bridge at 6:30 p.m. but tragically never returned home.

His wife, María del Carmen Castellón, expressed devastation at the unfolding events, stating, “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, also shared his anguish, saying, “It hurts my heart to see what is happening. We are human beings, and they are my coworkers. First of all, God, be alive. It’s what you want most.”

After more than 14 hours of search and rescue efforts, authorities announced the suspension of operations to locate the missing workers. As of Tuesday evening, it remained uncertain how many vehicles plunged into the water or if there were additional victims.

Initial reports indicated that eight workers were on the bridge at the time of the collapse, with emergency responders rescuing two workers from the water, one of whom is employed by Brawner Builders and is currently in “very serious condition.”

The tragic incident occurred shortly before 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday when the container vessel DALI collided with a bridge pillar.

According to Clay Diamond, the executive director and general counsel of the American Pilots Association, despite efforts by the ship’s local pilot to prevent a collision, a sudden blackout on the vessel resulted in loss of engine and electrical power, making it impossible to avoid the bridge.

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore provided further insight, stating that the momentary loss of power caused the vessel to veer off course, leading to the collision with the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has initiated an investigation into the incident and will lead the inquiry. Initial assessments indicate damages exceeding $500,000 to both the bridge and the vessel, with the Office of Marine Safety tasked with determining the probable cause.

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