SURFACE, Fla. – A year ago in the middle of the night, a 12-story oceanfront condominium building in Surfside, Florida came down with a thunderous roar, leaving a huge pile of debris in its wake and claiming the lives of 98 people – one of the deadliest collapses in US history.
The Champlain Towers South disaster also became the largest non-hurricane emergency relief effort in Florida history.
His victims were honored Friday at on-site events that saw rescue teams from other parts of Florida and even Mexico and Israel travel for two weeks last June and July to help local teams dig through the pile and search for victims .
On the Friday program is a private overnight gathering for families to light a torch. First Lady Jill Biden is expected to speak at a public event being organized by the City of Surfside.
Only two teenagers and a woman survived the fall and were pulled out of the rubble, while others escaped from what was initially a part of the building.
pictures of one rescue of the survivors well traveled and offered a glimmer of hope right after the collapse, but the long, grueling search yielded mostly devastating results as families waited in agony just to hear about it the remains of their loved ones.
Among those missing in the collapse were the 7-year-old daughter of a firefighter who helped search and was later found dead with her mother, aunt and grandparents; a woman whose cries for help could be heard in the early hours of the morning but suddenly stopped; and two sisters, 4 and 11, who were pulled from the rubble so small they were buried in the same coffin. A 12-year-old girl sat across the rubble to pray for her doctor’s father, who was eventually found dead.
The victims included local residents as well as visitors who were Orthodox Jews, Latin Americans, Israelis, Europeans and Snowbirds from the Northeast.
The cause of the collapse remains under investigation by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, with the probe entering a new phase this month to cut and drill through concrete and steel. Champlain Towers South had a long history of maintenance problems and shoddy construction techniques were used in the early 1980s. Other possible factors include sea level rise from climate change and damage from saltwater intrusion.
Pablo Langesfeld, the father of a 26-year-old lawyer who married a few months before the collapse and moved into the building, said he would not see any closure until this investigation was completed.
“This is a nightmare that never ends,” Langesfeld told The Associated Press.
The spot where the building stood was swept flat.
Though the investigation is expected to take years, a judge approved one Compensation payment of more than one billion US dollars Thursday for the victims.
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman praised the dozens of attorneys involved, and a woman who lost her daughter called them heroes in black robes and business suits.
Hanzman said the indemnity deal was exceptional in scope and speed.
“This agreement is the best we can do. It’s a remarkable result,” he said.
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https://www.local10.com/news/national/2022/06/24/a-year-on-surfside-remembers-98-victims-of-condo-collapse/ A year later, Surfside remembers 98 victims of a condo collapse