On Tuesday, March 26th, around 1:30 a.m, Baltimore made the news for another tragedy. In just twenty-four hours six men died, a cargo ship lost power, a bridge was destroyed, and Maryland’s economy lost approximately fifteen million dollars. 

The bridge that I as a kid had begged my dad to cross every time he picked me up from a UMBC summer camp had fallen. It was packed every rush hour and added at least 10 minutes to our drive, but it looked so cool from below. I had crossed the Francis Scott Key bridge dozens of times, my parents even more. We have lived in Baltimore for most of my life, and as frequent visitors of the city, it was eerie to see our skyline without the bridge. 

Last week, a cargo ship crossed international borders coming into the Port of Baltimore, one of the busiest ports in the world. The cargo ship, if stood upright, would have reached almost to the top of the Eiffel Tower, nearly one thousand feet. It was huge and heavy, moving roughly 9 miles per hour. The cargo ship lost power; there has been no indication that this tragedy was anything but an accident. After the power outage, it was unable to turn away from the bridge. Despite a mayday call, it was too late to turn a ship of that magnitude, the ship made contact and the bridge fell like a card stack. The footage online is heartbreaking, and even more so when you imagine the height of the fall eight construction workers took. During the crash, eight men were filling potholes on the bridge. Two were soon rescued and the remaining six are presumed dead. It has been said they were working in the middle of the span when it collapsed. I don’t know much about architecture, but the middle span looks like the highest point. 

The victims of the collapse are known to be natives of Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. They were hard-working immigrants with children and loved ones waiting to see them in the morning. Unfortunately, four of the six men taken from the tragedy were not found. Maynor Yassir Suazo Sandoval, 38, had his story told by his brother. He was a joyful person, a husband and father, who started his own company. His family in Honduras hopes he is recovered. Miguel Luna, a husband, and father of three from El Salvador had lived in Maryland longer than I have. He has not been found. Jose Mynor Lopez has children who are not even old enough to understand what has happened or where he is. Carlos Hernández, only and forever 24, came from Mexico and sent his girlfriend a voice memo from the bridge minutes before the collapse. She shared the message with CNN affiliate Univision: “Yes, my love, we just poured the cement and we’re just waiting for it to dry.” Alejandro Hernandez Fuentes, 35, from Mexico, was one of the two bodies found. His uncle learned of his death from the news. Dorlian Castillo Cabrera, known as loving his job, has also been found.

The construction industry in Baltimore has a significant percentage of its workforce made up of immigrants. They died contributing to the U.S. economy and many will never remember their names. Governor of Maryland Wes Moore has made his concerns about the economy very clear. It is estimated that about eighty billion dollars worth of cargo passes through the Port of Baltimore each year. Shippers are now scrambling to find alternative routes to avoid the collision​ ​​​ The East Coast is responsible for imports of hundreds of thousands of cars. The port also employs more than 15,000 people who are now without work. It is considered an economic catastrophe. President Biden said he plans for the federal government to pay for the entire cost of the rebuild–which will take a very long time. Even now, the ship remains in the chest of the bridge. The day it is removed will be the day the bridge’s skeleton falls to the bottom of the Patapsco River with four lost souls.  

Junior Isabella Borrero is a Contributing Writer. Her email is iborrero@fandm.edu.