La prensa

All Six Killed in Baltimore Bridge Collapse were Immigrants

Baltimore Bridge
Author: La Prensa
Created: 28 March, 2024
Updated: 29 March, 2024
3 min read


By Sandra G. León

All six of the people killed when a bridge in Baltimore collapsed after being hit by a cargo ship were all immigrants from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.

The cargo ship Dali lost power and floated uncontrollably into the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland, at around 1:30 am on March 26th, hitting one of the two main support structures holding up the 1.6 mile-long bridge that spans across the Patapsco River.

The six men were among eight maintenance workers who were sitting in their cars while on a break when the accident occurred.

Two of the victims were sitting in a pickup truck when the bridge collapsed, dropping them into the river. Divers recovered the bodies of Alejandro Hernandez Fuentes, 35, originally from Mexico, and Dorlian Ronial Castillo Cabrera, 26, from Guatemala.

The four other victims are still missing and presumed to have died.

Two of the four missing men have been identified as Miguel Luna, 49, from El Salvador, and Maynor Yassir Suazo Sandoval, 38, originally from Honduras. The men had lived in the US for 18 years and 19 years, respectively.

The names of the last two victims have not been released.

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The Latino Racial Justice Circle, an interfaith non-profit organization in Baltimore, created a GoFundMe campaign for the victims’ families. Although their initial fundraising goal was $18,000, the campaign has raised nearly $100,000 so far to help the families with basic needs, such as rent, groceries, and utilities.

The MV Dali, a 985-foot cargo ship based in Singapore that can carry up to 5,000 standard 40-foot containers, was leaving Baltimore on its way to cross through the Panama Canal to unload on the East Coast.

As the ship was approaching the bridge, it lost electrical power and its ability to steer. As the 213 million pound ship floated, it recovered its electrical power and dropped its right side anchor in an attempt to stop.

The ship was being steered by two local pilots who are captains that come aboard to guide large ships in and out of ports. 

The ship’s pilot made a distress call over the radio which alerted transit authority officials that the ship had lost control. Transit officers blocked traffic in both directions just two minutes before the bridge collapsed. 

The bridge is named after the author of the lyrics of the Star-Spangled Banner, Francis Scott Key, a British citizen who wrote the lyrics of what later became America’s national anthem.

Key wrote a poem he titled “Defense of Fort M’Henry” on September 14, 1814, after watching the bombardment of Fort McHenry by British ships during the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812. 

The battle took place in the same area where the bridge was built starting in 1972 and completed in 1977.

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Key's poem was later set to the tune of popular British song, To Anacreon in Heaven, written by John Stafford Smith.  

On March 3, 1931, the U.S. Congress passed a joint resolution making the song the official National Anthem of the United States.

Although Key's original poem has four stanzas, only the first one is usually sung as part of the National Anthem.

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