Bridge Collapse in Baltimore: A Honduran Family’s Hope Amidst Despair


The construction workers who went missing in the Baltimore bridge collapse arrived in Maryland from Mexico or Central America, including an industrious Honduran father and husband who launched a delivery service before the pandemic drove him to find other jobs, according to his family.

Police were able to close bridge traffic seconds before a cargo ship plowed into one of the Francis Scott Key Bridge’s supports early Tuesday, causing the span to collapse into the freezing Patapsco River. There wasn’t enough time for a maintenance crew to fix potholes on the span to make it safely.

At least eight persons fell into the sea; two were rescued. Two remains were discovered Wednesday, while four people remained missing and feared dead.

The governments of Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras have verified that their citizens are among those missing.

Maynor Yassir Suazo Sandoval, 38, was the youngest of eight siblings from Azacualpa, a rural mountainous district in northeastern Honduras bordering Guatemala.

He traveled to the United States on his own 18 years ago in search of opportunity. Martín Suazo Sandoval, one of his brothers, stated on Wednesday that his brother had worked as an industrial technician in Honduras, maintaining equipment in huge assembly facilities, but the salary was insufficient to advance.

“He always dreamed of having his own business,” he told me.

Another brother, Carlos Suazo Sandoval, stated that Maynor planned to retire in Guatemala someday.

“He was the baby for all of us—the youngest. He was constantly happy and thinking about the future. “He was a visionary,” he told The Associated Press over the phone Wednesday from Dundalk, Maryland, near the bridge fall.

Maynor came to the United States illegally and settled in Maryland. Initially, he did any work he could find, such as construction and brush clearing. Martín Suazo Sandoval claimed he eventually began a package delivery firm in the Baltimore-Washington area.

Other siblings and relatives followed him northward.

“He was the fundamental pillar, the bastion so that other members of the family could also travel there and later get visas and everything,” said Marta Suazo Sandoval. “He was the driving force so that most of the family could travel.”

Maynor has a wife and two children, aged 17 and 5, he revealed.

The COVID-19 outbreak led Maynor to go for work elsewhere, and he joined Brawner Builders, the business that was maintaining the bridge when it collapsed.

According to Martín Suazo Sandoval, Maynor never expressed fear of his employment, despite working at heights on bridges. Martín Suazo Sandoval emphasized the importance of putting up extra effort to achieve success. “He said it didn’t matter what time or where the job was, you had to be where the work was.”

Things were going well for him until the collapse. He was working on obtaining legal status and intended to return to Honduras this year to finish the process, according to his brother.

Even though Maynor was unable to return to Honduras, his brother stated that he financially sponsored many nongovernmental social groups in town, as well as the kid’s soccer league. He explained that the region is heavily reliant on agriculture, namely coffee, livestock, and sugarcane.

According to Martín Suazo Sandoval, Maynor’s employer informed his family of his abduction, which left them upset, particularly his mother, who still resides in Azacualpa. “These are difficult times, and all we can do is keep faith,” he added, stressing that his younger brother understood how to swim and might have ended up anywhere. If the worst-case scenario is proven, he stated that the family will try to have his remains returned to Honduras.

In Mexico, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador stated that three Mexicans were on the bridge when it collapsed, one who was hurt but rescued and two who were still missing. He refused to reveal their identities out of respect for their families’ privacy.

López Obrador said the tragedy highlighted the contributions that migrants bring to the US economy.

“This demonstrates that migrants go out and conduct dangerous jobs at midnight. And as a result, they do not deserve to be treated as they are by some insensitive, irresponsible politicians in the United States,” he stated.

Later, Col. Roland L. Butler Jr., superintendent of Maryland State Police, said that divers had discovered the deaths of two males, ages 35 and 26, inside a red pickup buried in approximately 25 feet (7.6 meters) of water near the bridge’s middle span.

Dorian Ronial Castillo Cabrera, a Guatemalan, was 26 years old, and Alejandro Hernández Fuentes, 35, was originally from Mexico.

Guatemala’s Foreign Affairs Ministry already stated that two of its citizens were among those missing. El Salvador’s foreign minister, Alexandra Hill Tinoco, confirmed Wednesday on X that one Salvadoran citizen, Miguel Luna, is among the missing workers.

According to federal and state officials, the crash appeared to be the result of an accident.

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