Rescue crews find fourth body of Baltimore bridge collapse as FBI opens investigation

Recovery divers removing debris from the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore on the Patapsco River on April 15 have recovered the body of the fourth bridge worker who died early on the morning of March 26 when a container ship hit the bridge in the pre-dawn hours.

The Dali ran into the bridge around 1:30 a.m. as eight construction workers were doing routine pothole repair maintenance. Two workers were rescued after they fell into the frigid water. The bodies of four have been recovered, and two remain missing and are presumed dead.

"Maryland continues to pray for the families and loved ones affected by this tragedy. They have our thoughts, hearts, and support," Maryland Gov. Wes Moore said. "We hope that everyone will respect the request of the family for privacy during this difficult time. As we continue to recover those who have perished, may we never forget them, their loved ones, and the commitment they made to work in a profession that bettered the lives of so many Marylanders across the state."

So far, recovery crews have recovered and returned to the families the bodies of 35-year-old Maynor Yasir Suazo-Sandoval, 35-year-old Alejandro Hernandez Fuentes, and 26-year-old Dorlian Castillo Cabrera. Unified Command, the government agencies working together to remove the debris, did not identify the fourth worker out of respect for his family.

"Our hearts continue to break for the loved ones of these victims," Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott said. "Our entire city remains with them, joining them in mourning and in healing now that one more of their loved ones has been brought home. For those still waiting, we join them in their hope and grief that they will have the same closure soon. As I have said from the very first moment, we will continue to do everything in our power to support these families and provide whatever they need to persevere through this unthinkable tragedy."

FBI Launches Probe

Meanwhile, the FBI confirmed it had launched an investigation into the accident. Agents were seen on April 15 boarding the Dali, which remains in the middle of the river as crews continue to remove the containers and plan to move the ship out of the shipping channel eventually.

"The FBI is present aboard the cargo ship Dali conducting court-authorized law enforcement activity. There is no other public information available, and we will have no further comment," the law enforcement agency said in a statement.

The Washington Post first reported that agents were on the container ship.

In a statement, Erek Barron, the U.S. attorney for Maryland, said the government is now commenting on the specifics of the investigation; however, it intends to hold those responsible for the bridge collapse accountable.

"My office generally will not confirm the existence of or otherwise comment about investigations. However, the public should know, whether it's gun violence, civil rights abuse, financial fraud, or any other threat to public safety or property, we will see accountability for anyone who may be responsible," Barron said.

NTSB Investigating

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is the lead government agency investigating the bridge collapse. Chairman Jennifer Homedy said the investigation could take 18 months to determine the cause and make safety recommendations.

During her April 10 Senate committee confirmation hearing, after being renominated to the NTSB for a second term, she said investigators are focusing on the Dali's electrical system and possible problems in the moments before the collision as a potential cause of the bridge collapse.

Video shows that the ship's lights flickered several times before impact, and the Dali was off course and out of the main shipping lane. It appears the captain and crew were having difficulty controlling the ship.

The investigators have requested assistance in examining the ship's electrical system and circuit breakers, among other things.

"That is where our focus is right now in this investigation," she said. "Of course, that's preliminary. It could take different roads, different paths as we continue this investigation."

Moments before the collision that brought the bridge down, the Captain of the ship made a "May Day" call that alerted law enforcement that the ship was in trouble. Police and others shut the bridge down and tried to get people off it.

On April 16, lawyers for one of the workers who survived Julio Cervantes said the work crew members were not warned about the imminent collision and the workers were sitting in their cars on break when the bridge fell.

Lawyers from the firms Stewart Miller Simmons and Kreindler & Kreindler are representing Cervantes and the families of two of the workers who died.

"He fought for his life, and he survived," attorney Justin Miller said of Cervantes during a news conference announcing the law firms are conducting their own investigation into the incident.

Another attorney, L. Chris Stewart, said Cervantes watched as his colleagues fell into the Patapsco River. He survived because his car had manual windows. He was able to roll the window down and escape.

Stewart said Cervantes cannot swim, yet he was able to hang onto a piece of debris until first responders found him and pulled him out of the water.

"You can imagine how frightening that is," Stewart said. "He was stranded on, I believe, it was a rock or a piece of metal that was floating by."

Cervantes was treated at a Baltimore area hospital and later released.

"It's left him with severe mental and emotional pain and suffering," Stewart said. "He lost family members in that. Some of the workers were related, including some of his family who perished."

The attorneys also said that as their investigation expands, they will see if emergency protocol situations were followed and whether the workers should have received additional warnings.

"We'll learn more as the investigation is ongoing. We don't have any further.

The legal team also announced plans to take legal action against Grace Ocean, which owns the Dali. Just days after the crash,

Synergy Marine Group manages the ship, and Grace Ocean filed a court petition after the collapse seeking to limit their legal liability to $43 million.

On April 1, the Singapore-based Grace Ocean Private Ltd. filed a "limitation of liability" action in federal court, invoking a little-known statute used in maritime law.

The company is asking a federal judge to consolidate claims against the company in U.S. District Court in Maryland and to either find the company not liable at all or to cap its liability at $43 million, which the company claims is the value of the ship and its freight.

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