Carlos Suazo Sandoval, the brother of bridge worker Maynor Suazo Sandoval, who died in the collapse, holds flowers on a visit to the bridge site. Photo: Cool Breeze Sailing Charters

Baltimore Charter Captain Brings Comfort to Families of Key Bridge Disaster Victims

A Baltimore charter captain has played a key role in bringing comfort to the family of Maynor Suazo Sandoval, one of the bridge workers who perished in the Key Bridge collapse. His body was recovered from the wreckage Friday.

When the container ship Dali lost power and struck the Francis Scott Key Bridge, a mayday call from the ship and the swift actions of Maryland Transportation Authority Police officers stopped traffic and avoided a mass casualty event. But there wasn’t time to evacuate the eight men working to patch potholes on the bridge. Two were rescued the day of the collapse, and anxious family members of the remaining six were holding out hope that their loved ones would also be found alive.

Captain Lemart Presley, owner of the Baltimore-based Cool Breeze Sailing Charters, a 100-ton USCG master who operates tours of the Chesapeake Bay, the Caribbean, and Europe, was awakened at 4:30 am with news of the disaster. “It was unbelievable,” he recalled. 

Captain Lemart Presley brought family members of the bridge workers lost in the collapse as well as national news outlets out to the site where the Key Bridge once stood. Photo courtesy of Cool Breeze Sailing Charters

Shortly after the tragedy, local, national, and international news organizations converged on Baltimore. One was NewsNation, a national cable streaming service that located Presley through a Google search and hired him to take them to the bridge site. Upon their return to the pier, Presley was approached by a group of individuals who were waiting along the waterfront promenade for Presley. They were accompanied by a family member of one of the missing workers, and asked Presley to take them to see the wreckage. As it was already 4:30 p.m., Presley and the group agreed to meet the following day.

That morning, with Carlos Suazo Sandoval,  the brother of missing worker Maynor Suazo Sandoval, a Telemundo reporter, and a podcaster on board, Captain Presley approached the site.

“I asked the Coast Guard if I could get closer because I had a family member of one of the missing workers on board who wanted to pray and place flowers in the water. It was emotional,” he recalled. “Carlos had no other point of reference to his brother’s death other than that one area in the water. He needed some way to say goodbye.”

On Easter Sunday, through the generosity of Carlos Cruz, owner of Bayside Cantina restaurant along the Canton waterfront, additional members of Sandoval’s family were able to honor his memory. Cruz contracted Captain Presley to take them out on his own Carver 35. “While we were out on the water, they prayed and sang hymns in Spanish,” he reported. 

On Friday, April 5, the body of Maynor Suazo Sandoval was recovered by divers from the Patapsco River.  His family plans to return the husband, and father of two, to Honduras for burial.

“We were blessed to be able to participate in the on-water memorial and pray that God will comfort the families of those who lost their lives,” Capt. Presley said.