top stories

Bridge Collapse Victims Were Workers Supporting Families, Co-Worker Says


A construction company employee who said he had labored alongside the six men missing after a Baltimore bridge collapse on Tuesday said that many of his co-workers were migrants working to support their relatives.

“We’re low-income families,” said Jesus Campos, who has worked at the construction company, Brawner Builders, for about eight months. “Our relatives are waiting for our help back in our home countries.”

The men worked for Brawner, a contractor based in Baltimore County, a senior executive at the company said on Tuesday. The executive, Jeffrey Pritzker, and the Coast Guard said that all of the missing workers were presumed dead, given how long it had been since the collapse.

“They were wonderful family people,” Mr. Pritzker said, before describing the victims’ survivors. “Spouses, children.” He added, “It’s just a very, very bad day.”

The company routinely does maintenance on bridges operated by the state. Its workers were repairing the bridge’s roadway when it was struck by the ship. Mr. Pritzker said that Brawner’s owner was distressed and had spent the early hours of Tuesday near the bridge hoping for a rescue, and had also since met with families of all of the missing workers.

Mr. Campos spent much of Tuesday afternoon at a gas station near where the police had blocked off the road to the Francis Scott Key Bridge. He wore a black sweatshirt bearing the construction company’s name and milled about, waiting for news and speaking on the phone.

“It’s tough,” he said. “This situation is very difficult.”

He told The Baltimore Banner that the employees who remained missing were from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico.

A nonprofit that provides services to immigrants in Baltimore confirmed that at least one of the missing men, Miguel Luna, was from El Salvador. Mr. Luna, 40, is married and has three children, said Gustavo Torres, the executive director of the nonprofit, We Are Casa. He said Mr. Luna had been living in Maryland for at least 19 years.

Guatemala’s foreign affairs ministry confirmed that two of the workers were Guatemalan nationals, from the regions of Petén and Chiquimula. The ministry, which did not release the names of its citizens, said that the country’s consul general in Maryland had spoken with the siblings of the two workers and was hoping to meet with their families.

The Mexican Consulate in Washington said in a statement that the nationalities of the missing people were still being determined. Embassies for the other two countries mentioned by Mr. Campos did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Officials said that in addition to the six missing workers, two people had been rescued from the water. One did not need medical treatment, and another was taken to a hospital and released later in the day.

State officials said the construction crew had been fixing potholes when the ship crashed into the bridge.

Brawner was founded in 1980, according to its website, and its employees work on schools, historic properties, bridges and other infrastructure.

Reporting was contributed by Jacey Fortin, Miriam Jordan, Patricia Mazzei and Emiliano Rodríguez Mega. Kirsten Noyes contributed research.



Source link