One week later, clearer picture of Key Bridge victims emerges

When Baltimore and the world woke up last week to the news that the Francis Scott Key Bridge had disappeared, the families of half a dozen men experienced a much more personal loss.

Six construction workers are thought to have perished after the Dali, a Singapore-flagged container ship, smashed into a key support column and sent the bridge and the roadway workers on it into the Patapsco River.

The night shift crew began working in the evening March 25, filling potholes on Interstate 695. After a mayday from the ship early the next morning, police officers successfully halted car traffic onto the bridge moments before it fell, but warnings didn’t make it to most of the workers in time.

A seventh member of the Brawner Builders crew was rescued and treated at a hospital. A bridge inspector also survived.

Baltimore’s Latino community is grieving the six lives lost as it rallies around the families. For some, the men’s deaths symbolize the sacrifices many Latin American immigrants make when they work dangerous jobs in the United States to improve their families’ futures.

The men who died came from Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. The youngest were in their 20s, while the eldest was a 49-year-old grandfather.

Miguel Luna, 49

Luna, who was from the town of California in El Salvador, immigrated to the United States about 19 years ago, according to CASA, a nonprofit supporting immigrants of which Luna was a member.

He became a welder and lived in Glen Burnie. When he wasn’t working construction, he often cooked alongside his wife, who operates a food truck called Pupuseria Y Antojitos Carmencita Luna, based in Glen Burnie. Friends described Luna as a hardworking “family man,” who had three children, and also was a grandfather. One friend reminisced about their time playing professional soccer together in El Salvador as young men, adding that Luna was a skilled defender.

Miguel Luna, victim of Key Bridge collapse, was a kindhearted family man from El Salvador

Alejandro “Alex” Hernandez Fuentes, 35

Hernandez was the foreman of the crew working on the bridge that night. Former coworkers described him as a “fireball” who took his job seriously, and climbed the ranks at Brawner Builders, going from a laborer to driving a company truck.

Hernandez was a devout Christian, who often encouraged his coworkers to turn on religious radio stations as they drove from job to job. Hernandez, who was born in Mexico and lived in Essex, left behind a wife and four children. His body was found last week submerged in the Patapsco, in a red pickup truck. Hernandez’s brother-in-law Julio was part of the crew working on the bridge March 26 but survived the collapse, a former coworker said.

Alejandro Hernandez Fuentes, foreman of crew killed in Key Bridge collapse, was devout father of four

Maynor Yassir Suazo Sandoval, 38

The youngest of eight siblings, Suazo Sandoval grew up in Azacualpa, Honduras. He immigrated to the United States more than 17 years ago, and often sent money back to his hometown, even sponsoring a soccer league. He had a wife and two children and lived in Owings Mills.

Skilled with machinery, he dreamed of starting his own business one day, according to CASA, of which Suazo Sandoval was a member. In his spare time, Suazo Sandoval loved visiting parks and beaches with his wife and young daughter, said his brother Carlos, who took to the Patapsco River Friday to observe the wreckage and sent videos to his family members.

Awaiting closure, Maynor Suazo Sandoval’s family remembers him as a happy provider

Dorlian Ronial Castillo Cabrera, 26

Born in Guatemala, Castillo Cabrera lived in the Baltimore area. Relatives living at a Dundalk address listed for him said they were not ready to speak to reporters. A friend named Melvin Ruiz, of Baltimore, told The Baltimore Sun that Castillo Cabrera was a kind person with a joyous sense of humor.

Castillo Cabrera routinely volunteered to drive fellow crew members to work and other members of Baltimore’s Latino community to the store or to various appointments as needed, Ruiz said.

“He was a genuinely selfless person,” Ruiz said.

Elba Yanez, who cut his hair at a Patapsco Avenue barber shop, described him as sweet. Castillo’s body was recovered last week in the submerged truck, alongside Alex Hernandez. He was originally from San Luis, Petén, according to the Consulate General of Guatemala in Maryland.

Jose Mynor Lopez, in his 30s

Lopez, described as a loving family man and an attentive father, emigrated to the United States 19 years ago from Guatemala in order to create better opportunities for his family.

He had four children, including a young daughter, his uncle Wilmer Raul Orellana said. His wife worked at Owls Corner Cafe in Dundalk, according to his friend and former coworker Melvin Ruiz. A co-owner of the cafe set up a GoFundMe to raise money for his family.

For much of his time in the U.S., Lopez worked in Virginia for Marksmen, a Baltimore bridge repair and marine construction company. Lopez had taken a job with Brawner and moved to the Baltimore about a year ago. He lived in Dundalk.

Carlos Hernandez

Other news outlets have identified Carlos Hernandez as one of the victims who died on the bridge. The Mexican embassy told The Sun that three Mexicans were working on the bridge when it collapsed, including the man who survived. The Mexican state of Michoacán told CNN that the three Mexican men — Carlos Hernandez, Alejandro Hernandez, and Julio — were related to one another.

Baltimore Sun reporter Jonathan M. Pitts contributed to this article.

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