Man who crossed Baltimore's Key Bridge just before collapse speaks out: 'I'm really lucky'

Larry Desantis drove over the bridge every day for 16 years for his commute.

ByJay O'Brien, Arthur Jones II, and Meredith Deliso ABCNews logo
Sunday, March 31, 2024
Baltimore Bridge Collapse
Baltimore Bridge Collapse

BALTIMORE -- Larry Desantis headed to work early Tuesday to his job as head baker at a Maryland bakery, taking the Francis Scott Key Bridge as he usually does. Shortly after crossing the bridge, it collapsed.

"It makes me think, you know. I mean, I'm really lucky," Desantis, who said he was one of the last people to cross the bridge before it was struck by a massive cargo ship, told ABC News Saturday in his first television interview. "One minute later, I wouldn't be here."

Desantis is the head baker at Herman's Bakery in Dundalk, Maryland. He said he would drive over the Key Bridge every day for the past 16 years, commuting back and forth in the overnight hours between his two bakery jobs.

One minute later, I wouldn't be here
Larry Desantis

He estimates he crossed the key bridge between 1:26 and 1:27 a.m. on Tuesday. The Dali cargo ship struck the bridge around 1:29 a.m., according to the ship's voyage data recorder.

Maryland Transportation Authority officers stopped traffic onto the bridge prior to the collision, and no vehicles were traveling on the bridge when it collapsed, officials said.

Desantis said he noticed that no one was driving behind him on the bridge.

SEE ALSO | Reopening Port of Baltimore could take weeks as colossal wreckage cleanup gets underway: officials

"It was an eerie feeling because there were no vehicles at all," he said, adding that normally at that time "you'll see 20 or 30 tractor-trailers coming and going."

He said several people called to check in on him after the collapse because they knew he took the bridge at that time.

Six people are believed to have been killed in the disaster, officials said. They were part of a crew of construction workers on the bridge at the time.

Two workers survived the collapse -- one by running from the bridge and the other by going into the water and swimming to shore -- and six went missing. The bodies of two of the missing workers have since been recovered while four remain unaccounted for and are presumed dead, officials said.

Dive operations to recover the victims have been suspended due to unsafe conditions in the water, according to Maryland Gov. Wes Moore. More work needs to be done to clear the channel of bridge debris before those recovery efforts can resume, he said.

"We pray for all the victims of the Key Bridge collapse and also their loved ones," Moore said during a press briefing on Saturday. "We are thinking about them now and always."

READ MORE | Baltimore bridge rebuild could take years and cost at least $400M after collapse, experts say