Survivor of Baltimore’s Key Bridge Collapse Gives First Report

Julio Cervantes Suarez was in his truck in the early hours of March 26, along with six other construction workers in their own vehicles, taking a break from patching potholes on the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore.

The 300-metre-long container ship Dali then collided with one of the bridge’s support pillars. The 37-year-old saw his colleagues disappear into the Patapsco River.

After his own vehicle ended up in the water, Cervantes Suarez said he couldn’t open any doors and had to manually roll down the windows to escape. He said he climbed over a concrete slab of the wreckage and waited for rescuers.

Cervantes Suarez, one of the two survivors, recounted the tragic incident to NBC News in his first interview, the footage of which aired Wednesday.

Cervantes Suarez says in the interview that he searched for the other workers.

“I started calling them all by name,” he said in Spanish. “But no one answered me.”

He said Carlos Daniel Hernández, his nephew who he considered his son, was the first to fall.

Cervantes Suarez told NBC that he didn’t think he would survive the fall.

“I thanked God for [the] family that he gave me,” he said. “I asked him to take care of my wife and children. And I asked for forgiveness for everything that I have done.”

Cervantes Suarez, who told NBC he is still in physical pain, said he is tormented by the fact that he told Hernández to go to his car and rest.

“If I had told him to come with me, maybe it would have been different. Maybe he would have been here with us,” Cervantes Suarez told the network.

Federal investigators are still looking into the cause of the crash, which halted most commerce in the Port of Baltimore and raised questions about whether federal and state authorities are prepared to prevent similar disruptions. The FBI has a separate, ongoing criminal investigation into whether the Dali’s crew knew about serious systems problems before it set sail.

Cervantes Suarez said he wants all responsible parties “to pay for the damage they have done,” including the family of Hernández Fuentes, his brother-in-law. But, he told NBC, nothing can bring back what his family and others lost overnight.

“Because I know that money can’t buy you a hug from a father or son,” he said.

Leave a Comment