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The bodies of two victims of the Baltimore bridge collapse have been recovered from a red pick-up truck that was found in about 25 feet of water, authorities have said.

The bodies have been pulled from the Patapsco River a day after the 1.6-mile long Frances Scott Key Bridge crashed into the water when it was struck by a container vessel in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

The men recovered have been identified as Alejandro Hernandez Fuentes, 35, who was from Mexico and lived in Baltimore, and Dorlian Ronial Castillo Cabrera, 26, who was from Guatemala and lived in Dundalk, Maryland.

Colonel Roland L. Butler Jr from Maryland State Police said the truck containing the bodies was found near the mid-section of the fallen bridge at around 10am local time (2pm UK time).

He also said further efforts to recover remains were being suspended because of the increasingly treacherous conditions.

Four people are still missing and are presumed dead as officials said the recovery mission is now a salvage operation because it is no longer safe for divers to navigate or operate around the debris and concrete in the port.

Police have said sonar vehicles have led officials to believe the vehicles still trapped underwater are encased in concrete and the structures that crashed down after the collision.

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New angle shows moment bridge hit

Maryland State Police added that responding officers have “exhausted all search efforts” to recover the remaining victims and that divers stopped searching the water at around 4pm local time (8pm UK time) today.

The six men, who were from Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, were part of a crew filling potholes on the bridge’s road surface at the time of the collapse.

Earlier, the first two missing construction workers to be named were Miguel Luna, a 49-year-old from El Salvador, and Maynard Sandoval, a 37-year-old father-of-two.

It came after audio emerged of a first responder call as officials halted traffic on both sides of the bridge moments before it collapsed.

The cargo ship had issued a mayday call to alert authorities it had lost power before it collided with the Baltimore bridge on Tuesday morning.

Following the call, Maryland Transportation Authority Police Dispatch and Response officials acted swiftly, shutting down the north and south sides of the bridge.

Read more:
Everything we know about the disaster
First missing worker named

In the audio, one official instructs: “Hold all traffic on the Key Bridge… There’s a ship approaching that just lost their steering so until we get that under control, we’ve got to stop all traffic.

“Make sure no one’s on the bridge right now. There’s a crew up there… You might want to notify the foreman to see if we can get them off the bridge temporarily.”

Another responds saying he would “grab the workers” but it was too late.

A second later, a voice is heard saying: “The whole bridge just fell down. Start, start whoever… everybody. The whole bridge just collapsed.”

In other developments, investigators at the National Safety Transportation Board have confirmed that the cargo ship’s data recorder has now been recovered – and they are examining whether contaminated fuel played a role in the crash.

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The Dali ship ploughed into one of the bridge’s supports and, in an instant, the structure had fallen into the Patapsco River, along with vehicles that were on it at the time.

All 22 crew members on board the ship, including the two pilots, have been accounted for and there were no reports of injuries.

This satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies shows a view of the Francis Scott Key Bridge that was struck by a container ship in Baltimore, Md., on Tuesday, March 26, 2024.  The container ship lost power and rammed into the major bridge causing the span to buckle into the river below. (Maxaar Technologies via AP)
Image:
A satellite image of the incident. Pic: AP

Maryland Governor Wes Moore said he spoke to the families of the victims, assuring them since the mission had transitioned from search and rescue to recovery he would “put every possible resource to bring [them] a sense of closure”.

He praised the “true heroism” of the first responders who “saved countless lives that night”.

Mr Moore also said he was “overwhelmed” by the amount of support from both the Democratic and Republican parties as he stressed the importance of getting the bridge rebuilt.

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‘True accountability’ for Baltimore bridge collapse

How did the Baltimore bridge collapse unfold?

Here we take a look at a timeline of the collapse on Tuesday 26 March and the events that followed in local time.

1.04am. A 289m-long container ship, named the Dali, departs from Baltimore’s port and is headed to Colombo in Sri Lanka.

1.24am. Footage shows the Dali slowly approaching the bridge.

1.24am and 33 seconds. The enormous vessel appears to suffer a total power failure as all its lights go out.

1.25am and 31 seconds. About a minute later, the ship’s lights flicker back on but black smoke starts rising from somewhere aboard the ship.

1.26am and 37 seconds. The ship’s lights go dark again.

Sometime after this point the cargo ship issued a mayday call to alert authorities it had lost power. US President Joe Biden later said this “undoubtedly saved lives” as it meant local authorities were able to close the bridge.

1.27am. Dali appears to be colliding with one of the Key Bridge’s upright supports. The U.S. Coast Guard receives first report of collision.

1.27am and 10 seconds. The ship’s lights come back on.

1.28am and 48 seconds. The road surface and steel beams of the Key Bridge begin collapsing – with footage later showing the structure crashing into the water along with vehicles that were on it.

1.29am. Most of the bridge’s span has plunged beneath the water.

1.40am. Baltimore City Fire Department dispatched rescue teams for the Patapsco River, with reports of multiple people in the water. Six missing people were later presumed dead before a recovery operation got under way.

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden has promised that he will visit Baltimore “as soon as possible”, adding that the federal government will cover the “full cost” of rebuilding the bridge – which experts say could be over $600m (£474m).

He told reporters: “Everything so far indicates that this was a terrible accident. At this time we have no other indication, no other reason to believe there’s any intentional act here.

“Personnel on board the ship were able to alert the Maryland Department of Transportation that they had lost control of their vessel.”

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Timeline of Baltimore bridge collapse

Mr Biden added that this meant local authorities were able to close the bridge before it was struck, which “undoubtedly saved lives”.

He continued: “Our prayers are with everyone involved in this terrible accident and all the families [affected], especially those waiting for news of their loved one right now. I know every minute in that circumstance feels like a lifetime.”

The Key Bridge carries the Interstate 695 highway over the Patapsco River southeast of the Baltimore metropolitan area.

Its main section spans 1,200 feet and was one of the longest continuous truss bridges in the world upon its completion, according to the National Steel Bridge Alliance.

The Dali was previously involved in a minor incident when it hit a quay at the Port of Antwerp in Belgium in 2016, where it was damaged, according to Vessel Finder and maritime accident site Shipwrecklog.

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World must face Iran’s ‘evil empire’, Israeli president says

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World must face Iran's 'evil empire', Israeli president says

It is “about time” the world faced the “empire of evil in Tehran”, Israel’s president has told Sky News.

World leaders also need to “make it clear” to the Iranian regime that its behaviour is “unacceptable”, Isaac Herzog added.

He described Iran’s launch of more than 300 drones and missiles towards Israel on Saturday as “just another example of how they have operated for years and years”.

Follow live updates after Iran’s attack on Israel

Tehran has been “spreading havoc, terror and instability all over the world, and especially in our region”, he said.

Iran has proxies all over the Middle East and terror cells all around the world, Mr Herzog went on.

“We were attacked last night from four corners of the Middle East with proxies shooting at us, firing missiles and ballistic missiles, drones and cruise missiles,” he said.

More on Iran

“This is like a real war. I mean, this is a declaration of war,” he said, before adding that Israel would exercise restraint.

Asked by Sky’s Middle East correspondent, Alistair Bunkall, whether he agreed with the comments of Western allies who are calling for calm, Mr Herzog said: “The last thing that Israel is seeking in this region since its creation is to go to war – we are seeking peace.”

Rishi Sunak confirmed the RAF shot down “a number” of Iranian attack drones.

The UK prime minister said “additional planes” were sent to the region as part of operations already under way in Iraq and Syria.

Had Iran’s attack on Israel been successful, the “fallout for regional stability would be hard to overstate”, Mr Sunak added.

“This was a dangerous and unnecessary escalation which I have condemned in the strongest terms,” he said.

US planes reportedly downed Iranian drones over northern Syria too.

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Will Israel respond to Iran’s attacks?

Meanwhile, the Israel Defence Forces is “poised and prepared for further aggression”, IDF spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner told Sky News.

He also called the defence of Israel a “unity of reasonable players against the diabolical plan of Iran”.

Asked if Israel would respond, he said: “It’s a very good question. We are looking towards the government today, the government will convene later today and they will make their decisions and instruct the military accordingly.”

Iran‘s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has said it was responding to an “attack on the consular section of the Iranian embassy in Damascus” on 1 April.

Two generals and seven members of the IRGC were killed in the strike, which Tehran blamed on Israel. Israel has not publicly commented.

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Joe Biden reaffirms US ‘ironclad’ support of Israel after Iran missile and drone attacks

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Joe Biden reaffirms US 'ironclad' support of Israel after Iran missile and drone attacks

Joe Biden has reaffirmed the US’s “ironclad” commitment to Israel’s security after Iran launched more than 300 drones and missiles in an “unprecedented” attack.

With additional launches in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, over 300 drones and missiles, including 120 ballistic missiles and 30 cruise missiles, were fired at Israel.

RAF planes were involved in the defence of Israel on Saturday evening in a support capacity, Sky News understands, while US planes reportedly downed Iranian drones over northern Syria.

Follow live updates of Iran’s attack on Israel

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened an emergency war cabinet to discuss the situation late on Saturday night, while, in Washington, US President Joe Biden also held an emergency meeting with top security officials.

Benjamin Netanyahu with his war cabinet on Saturday. Pic: Israeli PM's office
Image:
Benjamin Netanyahu with his war cabinet on Saturday. Pic: Israeli PM’s office

In a statement following the meeting, Mr Biden reaffirmed the US’s “ironclad” commitment to “Israel’s security against threats from Iran and its proxies”.

Across Israel, the military sounded sirens in multiple locations in southern areas last night as well as in parts of the occupied West Bank, an alert app showed.

A matter of hours after the attack from Iran, Lebanon fired rockets into northern Israel – who responded with their own launches.

Sky News international correspondent Alex Rossi, in Jerusalem, said he had heard “explosions” and seen “what look like air defence interception systems”.

Objects are seen in the sky above Jerusalem after Iran launched drones and missiles towards Israel in Jerusalem
Image:
Objects are seen in the sky above Jerusalem after Iran launched drones and missiles towards Israel in Jerusalem

Interceptor missiles are launched into the sky in Jerusalem
Image:
Interceptor missiles are launched into the sky in Jerusalem

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said it was responding to an “attack on the consular section of the Iranian embassy in Damascus” on 1 April.

Two generals and seven members of the IRGC were killed in the strike, which Tehran blamed on Israel. Israel has not publicly commented.

However, early on Sunday morning, a senior Israeli source told Channel 12 TV that the country was planning a “significant response” to the Iranian drone salvo.

Iran’s foreign ministry said Tehran would “not hesitate” to take “further defensive measures” to “safeguard its legitimate interests against any military aggressions”.

The response will be “much larger than last night’s if Israel retaliates against Iran”, the chief of staff of its armed forces Major General Mohammad Bagheri told state TV. IRG commander Hossein Salami added that Tehran will retaliate against any attack on its “interests, officials or citizens”.

Emergency services work at a destroyed building hit by an air strike in Damascus, Syria, Monday, April 1, 2024. An Israeli airstrike has destroyed the consular section of Iran's embassy in Damascus, killing or wounding everyone inside, Syrian state media said Monday. (AP Photo/Omar Sanadiki)
Image:
An airstrike destroyed the consular section of Iran’s embassy in Damascus, killing or wounding a number of Iranian commanders earlier this month. Pic: AP

Ten-year-old “severely injured” by shrapnel

Israel Defence Forces (IDF) spokesman Daniel Hagari told a news conference “99%” of the projectiles were intercepted.

Mr Hagari said: “Regretfully, a 10-year-old was severely injured from shrapnel. We send them our wishes of quick recovery.

“Except for them, as far as we know, there have not been any other casualties and yet this event is not over.”

He added: “Iran pushed the Middle East towards escalation. We will do whatever is necessary in order to defend Israel.”

Air sirens sound in Israel

As the IDF announced the Iranian attack had begun, as did the White House, this weekend, it advised people in the Golan Heights, Nevatim, Dimona and Eilat to take shelter.

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Sky’s Alex Rossi reports live from Jerusalem

More than 300 drones and missiles were launched by Tehran, along with 30 cruise missiles – 25 of which were intercepted outside Israel’s borders, according to the IDF.

They said Israeli forces had “successfully intercepted” the majority of the launches with its air defence system – as well as with help from its strategic allies – before they reached Israel.

Mr Hagari said the Nevatim Air Force base had been targeted and struck, suffering “slight damage to infrastructure alone” but it continued to function.

In this image released by the White House, President Joe Biden, third from right, meets with members of the National Security team regarding the unfolding missile attacks on Israel from Iran, Saturday, April 13, 2024, in the Situation Room of the White House in Washington. (Adam Schultz/The White House via AP)
Image:
US President Joe Biden meets with members of the National Security team. Pic: White House via AP

Mr Hagari also said 120 ballistic missiles were launched at Israel, but only a few managed to cross the border.

Drones were seen flying from Iran, through Iraqi airspace and in the direction of Israel, two Iraqi security sources told Reuters.

The drones are carrying 20kg of explosives each, Amos Yadlin, a retired general in the Israeli air force, told Channel 12 TV.

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Iraq and Jordan close airspace

An ‘unprecedented’ attack

Mr Biden labelled the attack by Iran and its “proxies operating out of Yemen, Syria and Iraq”, as “unprecedented”.

He condemned it in the strongest possible terms and said that the US military had moved aircrafts and ballistic missile defence destroyers to the region over the course of the past week.

He also spoke to Mr Netanyahu and reaffirmed his “ironclad” support for Israel and said he was going to convene his fellow G7 leaders in response to “Iran’s brazen attack”.

‘Attack further undermines regional security’

US, British and French planes assisted in the Israeli response to the attack.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said in a statement that additional RAF jets and air refuelling tankers had also been deployed to the region to “bolster” Operation Shader – the UK’s existing counter-IS operation in Iraq and Syria.

“In addition, the jets will intercept airborne attacks within range of our existing missions,” he said.

“I strongly condemn the senseless airborne attack that Iran has launched on Israel. It serves no benefit other than to further undermine regional security.”

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Jets from Jordan are also thought to have shot down Iranian drones flying across their airspace towards Israel, security sources have told the news agency Reuters – despite Tehran issuing an earlier warning to the country not to interfere with their strikes.

Israeli aviation authorities closed the country’s airspace to all flights – but it was reopened again several hours after the attacks.

Wing of Zion – Israel’s version of Air Force One – is airborne because of “operational considerations” and Mr Hagari added that the situation was “still unfolding”, and Israel continued to monitor its borders.

‘Reckless attack’

Earlier, Israel called off school trips and other youth activities planned for the coming days.

Jordan temporarily closed its airspace, state media reported, as did Iraq. Both have now reopened.

Egypt said its air defences were on alert.

Eithad airways has cancelled its services today to Tel Aviv in Israel and Amman in Jordan.

Read more:
Direct attack against Israel by Iran is unprecedented
Iran attack on Israel: Everything we know so far

Israel’s PM vows Rafah invasion will go ahead

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Explosions light up the sky above Jerusalem

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he condemned “in the strongest terms the Iranian regime’s reckless attack against Israel”.

He added: “Iran has once again demonstrated that it is intent on sowing chaos in its own backyard.

“The UK will continue to stand up for Israel’s security and that of all our regional partners, including Jordan and Iraq.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: “We condemn the Iranian regime’s decision to subject Israelis to these unacceptable attacks.

“The international community has been united in urging restraint, and we regret that, yet again, Iran has chosen a different, dangerous path.”

Saudi Arabia also called on all parties to exercise the “utmost levels” of restraint and to spare the region and its people the dangers of war, while UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres also urged “maximum restraint”.

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All-out war, or not, in the Middle East? Biden’s test at the most dangerous moment

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All-out war, or not, in the Middle East? Biden's test at the most dangerous moment

“What next?” It’s a question anxiously asked too many times in the past six months.

And no doubt the question formed the crux of the late-night call between President Biden and Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Follow live: Iran launches attack on Israel

Iran’s spectacular drone and missile assault on Israel is truly unprecedented.

A region already reeling from the Hamas attacks and the Israeli retaliation on Gaza is being rocked again.

American leadership and leverage, tested repeatedly, is undergoing a bigger strain still.

This time though the consequence of President Biden’s test is all-out war, or not, in the Middle East. It is the scenario most feared since 7 October.

More on Iran

Without question, this moment – right now – is the most dangerous yet, by a long way.

A direct attack by Iran, from Iranian soil, against Israel is a red line crossed in Tel Aviv.

Image:
The aftermath of the airstrike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus on 1 April. Pic: Reuters

Iran’s trigger was another unprecedented moment and another red line crossed, on 1 April, when a missile landed on the Iranian consulate in Damascus, Syria killing 16 people. The Israeli trigger for that? Iran’s malign regional behaviour, as they would see it.

Tit, tat, tit, tat. You can see how this spirals. It explains the grim faces of the US president and his officials in the White House situation room overnight.

Even though so many of the drones and missiles were intercepted and despite no mass casualty scenario, Israelis will feel profoundly vulnerable, and the Israeli government may feel compelled to retaliate.

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Explosions light up sky above Jerusalem

Impressions and the re-establishment of deterrence count for a lot in the Middle East.

That is precisely why Iran hit back after the Damascus consulate attack. It’s also why Israel may be unable to ignore Tehran’s weekend wave of drones and missiles. Never in its history has Israel faced an aerial assault like this.

Read more:
Netanyahu convenes Israeli war cabinet as Iran attacks

Direct attack against Israel by Iran is unprecedented
Iran attack on Israel: Everything we know so far

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And of course, in the White House they know all this all too well. But we all know too that the US-Israeli relationship has been severely strained by Gaza.

President Biden’s test now is to balance the action and reaction of a nation facing a moment that will feel, internally, to be existential with the consequences of an all-out regional war.

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Why has Iran launched drones?

Significant Jewish settler violence in the West Bank, Hezbollah attacks from southern Lebanon and the continued disaster in Gaza all risk compounding the chaos.

Iran’s actions were more than anyone had expected. An unprecedented and enormously risky attack on Israel. It was an extreme attempt to re-establish deterrence. That works both ways.

Just six months ago, days before 7 October, President Biden’s national security advisor Jake Sullivan wrote “the region is quieter than it has been for decades… We have de-escalated crises in Gaza & restored direct diplomacy…”

He was spectacularly misguided.

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