Two workers have been found dead, four remain missing and are presumed dead, and the search for their remains continues to evolve in the aftermath of the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore. 

What You Need To Know

  • The remains of two missing workers were recovered on Tuesday, as the efforts to recover four more workers who are missing and presumed dead evolve in the aftermath of the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore on Tuesday

  • A cargo ship lost power early Tuesday and rammed into the bridge, sending it collapsing into the Patapsco River below

  • The National Transportation Safety Board said that the ship’s data recorder as been recovered, which investigators are hoping can help to provide a timeline of the incident

Wednesday morning, divers searching the area of the collapse found the bodies of two men in a red pickup truck submerged in 25 feet of water. The men were identified as Alejandro Hernandez Fuentes, 35, of Baltimore; and Dorlian Ronial Castillo Cabrera, 26, of Dundalk. Hernandez Fuentes is originally from Mexico, Castillo Cabrera from Guatemala, Butler said. 

As efforts transition from search and recovery to salvage and recovery, the Biden administration has pledged that the federal government will help the city and its waterways rebuild.

“What [President Joe Biden] said publicly is what the president shared with me privately,” Maryland Gov. Wes Moore told Spectrum News on Wednesday. “He said the federal government and the administration is going to be all in making sure we get this port open and this bridge rebuilt and we appreciate it.”

In a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Moore said that the collapse of the bridge is a crisis for Maryland, the nation and the world.

"The national economy and the world's economy depends on the Port of Baltimore, the port handles more cars and more farm equipment than any other port in the country. Last year alone, the port handled $80 billion of foreign cargo, the largest in the country," Moore said. 

Moore added that Maryland on Wednesday submitted a request to the federal government asking for emergency relief funds to help with efforts to replace the Key Bridge. Cleanup of the waterway, Sen. Chris Van Hollen later said at the conference, would be paid for by the federal government. Preliminary estimates, he said, were in the range of $40 million to $50 million. 

"Rebuilding will not be quick or easy or cheap, but we will get it done," Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg pledged at a White House briefing on Wednesday, citing the differences between the relatively quick rebuilds of sections of Interstate 95 in Pennslyvania and Interstate 10 in California after similar incidents.

"There was terrific work done there, but that was addressing comparitively short spans of bridges over land relative to this span over water," he said. "And, of course, in the Baltimore case, we still don't know the condition of the portions of the bridge that are still standing or of infrastructure that is still below the surface of the water."

He noted that the bridge originally took five years to build.

Buttigieg said that officials are working with city, county and state officials, as well as members of Maryland's congressional delegation, to try and make a push to Congress for funding to repair the bridge.

"Bottom line, as President Biden has made clear, the federal government will provide all of the support that Maryland and Baltimore need for as long as it takes and we will work with Congress to deliver on that," Buttigieg said, adding that Biden wants to assist in removing barriers and regulations to help speed up the rebuilding process. 

Van Hollen said that he and Sen. Ben Cardin are reaching out to House Speaker Mike Johnson for any further assistance they might need with regards to federal funding. "We think that this is something where Americans should come together; this should not be a question of Republicans or Democrats," Van Hollen said.

The first priority, Cardin said, is to reopen shipping lanes and replace the bridge.

Recovery efforts resumed Wednesday morning after challenging conditions improved overnight after Tuesday’s shocking collapse. A cargo ship lost power early Tuesday and rammed into the bridge, sending it collapsing into the Patapsco River below.

The bridge, Buttigieg said, "simply was not made to withstand the direct impact on a critical support pier from a vessel that weighs about 200 million pounds."

Search efforts to find the missing workers, officials said, have transitioned to a new phase — from search and recovery to a salvage operation, as crews struggle to navigate the collapsed bridge.

"Because of the superstructure surrounding what we believe are the vehicles, and the amount of concrete and debris, divers are no longer able to safely navigate or operate around that," said Col. Rolando Butler, superintendent of the Maryland Department of State Police. "We have exhausted all search efforts in the areas around this wreckage, and based on sonar scans, we firmly belive that the vehicles are encased in the superstrucutre and concrete that we tragically saw come down."

The investigation into the incident is also underway. The National Transportation Safety Board said that the ship’s data recorder has been recovered, which chairwoman Jennifer Homendy said could provide insight about the speed in which the ship was moving and confirm reports about the power outage the ship.

Homendy told Spectrum News that information can help them to “provide a more comprehensive timeline” of the incident, which they hope to offer later Wednesday. She also said witness interviews will begin Wednesday, but it’s “unclear” whether the ship’s pilot will be among those interviewed.

“We do have a number of personnel on the vessel, we would like to interview folks on the bridge, others involved and even fire and rescue to understand what occurred here,” she said.

The vessel — the Dali, which was flying under the flag of Singapore — was moving at 8 knots, or roughly 9 mph, when it collided with the bridge, officials said Tuesday. The company that manages the ship, said that all of its crew were accounted for with no reports of any injuries. 

Coast Guard Vice Admiral Peter Gautier told reporters that the vessel was carrying 4,700 containers, 56 of which are carrying hazardous material but are not a threat to the public. The ship is stable, he noted, but it has 1.5 million gallons of oil on board.

Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul Wiedefeld told reporters Tuesday that eight people were on the bridge at the time of the incident, part of a construction crew fixing potholes on the bridge overnight. Two were recovered Wednesday morning, four are still unaccounted for and presumed dead. One was taken to the hospital and later released. The other was not hospitalized.

As officials highlighted Tuesday, there is no evidence of a nefarious attack related to the crash.

"The preliminary investigation points to an accident," Moore said Tuesday. "We haven't seen any credible evidence of a terrorist attack."

Moore told reporters that the nearly 50-year-old bridge, which was built in 1977 was "fully up to code" at the time of the accident. He also noted that the ship was able to issue a "mayday" call before the crash which allowed authorities to stop traffic from going on the bridge.

"I have to say, I'm thankful for the folks who ... once the notification came up that there was a mayday who literally by being able to stop cars from coming off the bridge, these people are heroes, they saved lives last night," Moore said.

Moore pledged Tuesday that they would rebuild the bridge, but would not offer a timeline for the project, saying that they are currently focused on search and rescue. He also would not give an update on the impact to shipping at the Port of Baltimore, which suspended shipping traffic in the aftermath of the incident.

Speaking from the White House on Tuesday, President Joe Biden vowed to the people of Baltimore that the federal government will support them "for as long as it takes," pledging that he will visit the city "as quickly as I can."

"Like the governor said, you're Maryland tough, you're Baltimore strong and we'll get through this together," he said.

The president said it was his "intention that the federal government will pay for the entire cost of reconstructing that bridge," and that it's his expectation that Congress will "support that effort." When asked by a reporter if the company who owns the ship should bear the cost of rebuilding the bridge, Biden replied: "We're not going to wait. We're going to pay for it to get the bridge rebuilt and open."

Biden said he told Gov. Moore and other city and county officials that "we're going to spend all the federal resources they need as we respond to this emergency -- I mean, all the federal resources -- and we're going to rebuild that port together."  

"Everything so far indicates that this was a terrible accident," Biden said, echoing what Gov. Moore said earlier in the day. "At this time, we have no other indication, no other reason to believe of any intentional act here. Personnel onboard the ship are able to alert the Maryland Department of Transportation that they lost control of their vessel ... as a result, local authorities were able to close the bridge to traffic before the bridge was struck, which undoubtedly saved lives."

"Our prayers are with everyone involved in this terrible accident and all the families, especially those waiting for the news of their loved one right now," Biden continued. "I know every minute in that circumstance feels like a lifetime, you just don't know. It's just terrible. We're incredibly grateful for the brave rescuers who immediately rushed to the scene."

Biden said Tuesday that the Army Corps of Engineers will lead the effort to clear the channel so the Port of Baltimore can resume operations.

"The Port of Baltimore is one of the nation's largest shipping hubs," the president said, adding: "It handles a record amount of cargo last year. It's also [one of] the top ports in America, both imports and exports of automobiles and light trucks, around 850,000 vehicles go through that port every single year. And we're going to get it up and running again as soon as possible. Fifteen thousand jobs depend on that port, and we're gonna do everything we can to protect those jobs and help those workers."

Last year, the Port of Baltimore handled a record 52.3 million tons of foreign cargo worth $80 billion, according to the state. In addition to cargo, more than than 444,000 passengers cruised out of the port in 2023.

Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin called it crucial to get the port reopened to minimize the impact to the state's economy.

"It affects many, many jobs ... not only jobs here in Maryland, but around the country and world," Cardin said at a briefing Tuesday. "So our next priority is make sure we get that channel opened and then we also need to fix and replace the bridge for the surface transportation."

The president said that he communicated to Maryland's governor that "I'm directing my team move heaven and earth to reopen the port and rebuild the bridge as soon as you humanly possible, and we're going to work hand in hand to support Maryland, whatever they asked for, we're going to work with our partners in Congress to make sure the state gets the support it needs."

"We're not leaving until this job gets done," he pledged.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.