The twelve-story building collapsed at dawn for unknown reasons and 35 people could be rescued alive
The images were breathtaking, almost apocalyptic, and yet they still did not do justice to reality, warned Governor Ron DeSantis. Half a twelve-story building had completely collapsed, leaving the rooms where its inhabitants slept bare and on the edge of a precipice, with their bunk beds intact.
It was 1:30 a.m. in Miami. Most slept. Between dreams they heard a great roar. Some thought it was thunder and expected to see the next glare out the window, but instead there was another roar and the metal windows twisted like rubber. The third crash came in a cloud of dust and seemed eternal: the building had collapsed in a matter of seconds. When they looked out onto the balcony, the ones they still had, they found that half of the neighboring apartments had disappeared. All that was left of them was a mountain of twisted iron and rubble on the ground.
“This does not happen,” the authorities repeated yesterday to the frightened neighbors, who feared they would be the next to see the ground disappear under their feet. This does not happen, but it had happened. While experts scratched their heads in disbelief and local newspapers demanded an explanation from their editorials, many continued to search for their loved ones. In the first hours, more than a hundred fire brigade units equipped with rescue dogs had managed to save 35 people, of whom only two had to be hospitalized. There were such dramatic cases as the woman whose leg had to be cut off in order to get it out of the rubble, or the child whose parents are presumed dead, who desperately yelled at one of the firefighters “Don’t leave me here! favor!”.
She had walked her parents down the emergency stairs that wound through the guts of the building to the garage, navigating doors blocked by debris and twisted iron in search of a way out. Instead they found a flooded subway where the water level was rising rapidly. In theory, at the end of this edition there was only one fatality, because no one wanted to add to the list of dead with presumed missing persons who could be quietly on vacation elsewhere, but the governor prepared public opinion to face “bad news.” .
The lobby list only registered visitors. As often happens in Miami, where many wealthy foreigners buy homes to spend the winter or have a tax-free residence in the United States to jump to when things go wrong in their countries, it is estimated that 30% of the building was not inhabited in the moment of disaster. Even so, according to the lists made with the statements of the survivors and concerned relatives, 99 people were missed, including the sister of the first lady of Paraguay Sophia López-Moreira, her husband the businessman Luis Pettengill, their three children minors and an employee. In addition, there were also nine Argentines and one Chilean.
The building constructed in 1981 on the famous Collins Avenue and 87th Street had 136 homes on twelve floors. No known structural damage. In fact, it was in the process of obtaining the required certification at 40 years of existence and had recently been visited by inspectors. Neighbors only remember eternal problems of landfalls and drains that experts do not explain the partial collapse on the side of the beach. Something like this had only been seen in an earthquake. The answer that puts those who live in similar buildings sleepless can take years to arrive.