Rescued Key Bridge construction worker couldn’t swim. Here’s what we know about the recovery effort.

The cargo ship Dali is stuck under part of the Francis Scott Key Bridge.
The cargo ship Dali is stuck under part of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore after the ship hit the bridge on Tuesday. (NTSB via AP)

Julio Cervantes, one of eight construction workers who were plunged into the Patapsco River when the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed early Tuesday morning, did not know how to swim, according to his wife.

“It is a miracle he survived,” his wife, who did not disclose her name, told NBC News.

Just before the bridge fell at approximately 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, Cervantes and seven other workers from Mexico and Central America were sitting in their cars, taking a break from filling potholes on the roadway.

Two of the workers were rescued, two bodies were pulled on Wednesday from the river, and the four other men are presumed dead, their bodies likely still trapped in their cars.

Here are the latest developments in the recovery effort:

Biden approves Maryland's $60 million federal aid request

On Thursday, the Biden administration approved a $60 million federal aid request from Maryland officials to help with emergency costs stemming from the collapse of the Key Bridge, the Associated Press reported.

Maryland officials asked the Biden administration earlier in the day for the “quick release” of the funds that would go toward recovery efforts.

“Currently, it is not possible to provide exact cost estimates for the full assessment; however, our current estimate for mobilization, operators, and debris recovery is $60 million,” Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul Wiedefeld wrote in a letter to the Federal Highway Administration, noting that the agencies would “provide a second need estimate as early as reasonably possible.”

On Tuesday, President Biden said his administration would “work with our partners in Congress to make sure the state gets the support it needs,” adding, “It’s my intention that the federal government will pay for the entire cost of reconstructing that bridge, and I expect the Congress to support my effort.”

Governor asks ‘every single Baltimorean’ to help with bridge rebuilding

Speaking Thursday at Camden Yards baseball park alongside the ownership group of the Baltimore Orioles, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore called on citizens to lend a hand in helping with the arduous task of rebuilding the fallen bridge.

“I’m calling on everybody to do their part. In this game, nobody gets to sit on the sidelines. We need every single Baltimorean and we need every single Marylander to join us in this work to rebuild this bridge and rebuild this city,” Moore said.

While Moore noted that federal and state officials as well as private and public groups were converging to clear the waterway, rebuild the bridge and resume operations at the Port of Baltimore, he did not specify what help, specifically, residents could offer in that effort.

“This work is not going to take hours. This work is not going to take days. This work is not going to take weeks. We have a very long road ahead of us,” he said.

The Orioles kicked off the 2024 season on Thursday with a moment of silence to honor the victims of the bridge collapse.

Praying for ‘a miracle’

While Cervantes survived the fall into the Patapsco River and was released from the hospital on Tuesday after being treated for chest injuries, not all of the men were so lucky.

The bodies of Alejandro Hernandez Fuentes, 35, a native of Mexico, and Dorlian Ronial Castillo Cabrera, 26, of Guatemala were recovered Wednesday, ABC News reported.

Family members of the men still missing but presumed dead have not given up hope.

“We still have faith until this moment, God grant the miracle, it would be beautiful,” Martin Suazo, the brother of missing Honduran worker Maynor Yassir Suazo Sandoval, told CNN. “We still have hope. I know that time is our worst enemy.”

Sandoval, who had lived and worked in the U.S. for the past 18 years, dreamed of one day retiring in his native Honduras, his brother told the Associated Press.

Sandoval’s family told CNN that they would like to recover his body before telling their “72-year-old mother back in Honduras the painful news.”

Possible disruptions to the auto industry

In the wake of the collapse of the Key Bridge, whose wreckage continues to obstruct operations at the Port of Baltimore, the automobile industry could be impacted.

The port, which handles the largest volume of vehicle shipments in the country, is now effectively shuttered from handling shipments and deliveries “until further notice.”

Automakers like General Motors and Ford are rerouting shipments, but some European automakers whose shipping facilities are outside of the affected portion of the waterway say that their operations will not be significantly impacted, Autoblog reported.