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Two Texas workers still missing in Arkansas River

Authorities have identified one of the three Texas workers who fell into the Arkansas River and presumed drowned, an official said Thursday.

The family of Wulfrango Ruiz, whose age was not available, was notified Thursday morning of his death in the Wednesday accident beneath the Interstate 430 bridge, said Garland Camper, deputy chief coroner for Pulaski County.

Ruiz’ body was recovered about 8 hours after the scaffolding collapsed, when a crane lifted the wreckage out of the river

The two other employees of Oscar Renda Contracting, based in Roanoke, have not been found. The men were part of a crew on a project to install a 30-inch water main beneath the bridge. All three men were from the Dallas-Fort Worth area, a company official said Wednesday night.

The search for the other two men was suspended Wednesday night and had not continued Thursday because of the strength of the current, said John Rehrauer, a spokesman for the Pulaski County sheriff’s office

“The river is just up too high to send in divers,” he said.

The 10,000-pound platform collapsed shortly before 11 a.m. Wednesday. About an hour later, a fire department official said the men were presumed dead and the rescue operation had turned into a recovery effort.

Rehrauer said federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors would take over the investigation.

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