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In an interview with NBC, a survivor of the Key Bridge collapse says:

By meerna Jul11,2024
In an interview with NBC, a survivor of the Key Bridge collapse says:

Julio Cervantes Suarez recalled thinking about his own death when the 947-foot vessel hit the Francis Scott Key Bridge where he was patching holes in the road.

Seven construction workers, all Latinos, fell into the Patapsco River seconds after the cargo ship Dali hit the bridge in the early morning hours of March 26. Cervantes Suarez is the only person who fell into the river and survived.

In an exclusive interview with NBC News’ Tom Llamas published Wednesday, Cervantes Suarez described how he and the crew were resting in the middle of the bridge as the ship approached and lost control. The interview is the first time Cervantes Suarez has spoken publicly about the bridge collapse.

Cervantes Suarez said everything started shaking just before he saw his coworkers disappear into the water. He thought, would die because he can’t swim, he added.

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In an interview with NBC, he said that in what he considered his last moments, he turned to God.

“I thanked God for the family he gave me. I asked him to take care of my wife and children. And I asked for forgiveness for everything I had done,” Cervantes Suarez said in Spanish.

The Dali lost power and hit a bridge, sending water into the river around 1:30 a.m. March 26. For weeks, the port of Baltimore, one of the busiest in America, was closed as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers cleared debris and reopened the shipping channel.

Cervantes Suarez, who still has pain in his chest, left knee and foot from his injuries, described being in his truck when a bridge collapsed beneath him. As the truck hit the river, the water “came up to my neck” and the doors wouldn’t open, preventing a quick escape.

Cervantes Suarez said he swallowed water while manually opening the windows of the vehicle that sank.

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“That’s when I realized what had happened. I looked at the bridge and it was gone,” Cervantes Suarez said.

A memorial to the construction workers who lost their lives in the Key Bridge collapse sits on the side of the road just before the Fort Armistead Park blockade. Roberto Marquez, an artist from Dallas, Texas, painted a mural in their honor, as well as painting their names on several crosses that decorate a perimeter of flowers, candles and other mementos. Community members honored the victims with prayer and song on April 6, 2024. (Kaitlin Newman/The Baltimore Banner)

All of his coworkers gradually disappeared into the water, Cervantes Suarez said. He swam to a piece of bridge in the river and started calling out to them, but heard nothing.

“I started calling each of them by name,” he said. “But no one answered me,” he said.

The bodies of the six bridge workers who died — José Mynor López, 37, of Baltimore, Alejandro Hernandez Fuentes, 35, of Baltimore, Dorlian Ronial Castillo Cabrera, 26, of Dundalk, Maynor Suazo Sandoval, 49, and Miguel Luna, 49 — were recovered within six weeks of the bridge collapse.

Cervantes Suarez was found during a search and rescue operation by cutting a flashlight attached to his helmet, NBC reports.

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The NTSB said the craft had power problems in the days leading up to the crash. The FBI has opened a criminal investigation into the disaster.

Estimates for replacing the bridge suggest a cost of more than $1.7 billion. President Joe Biden has also said he wants the federal government to cover the full cost of a new bridge.

By meerna

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