Shortly after the collapse of an apartment building in Surfside, near the U.S. city of Miami more than a week ago, rescue workers heard a womans voice under the rubble for hours. Thats what the local fire officer told me at a press conference on Thursday. “Unfortunately we couldnt reach her.”
Local media reports that a scavenger dog had detected a woman under the debris of the lowest floors a few hours after the collapse of Champlain Towers South. A rescue worker told Local 10 News that he and others ran into the collapsed building before they knew if it was safe. “I was banging on the wall and she said, Im here, get me out. Get me out. ” According to the man, everyone tried to free and comfort the woman. “She asked for help and begged to be taken from the rubble. We talked to her all the time. “Honey, we got you. Were going to get to you. ”
Miami-Dade County Fire Officer Alan Cominsky confirmed on Thursday at a press conference that rescue workers heard a womans voice in the rubble for hours during their first efforts, but they couldnt reach her. “In the end, we didnt hear her voice anymore. But we kept looking. And that again shows the extent of what were going through. The efforts of all our fire and rescue personnel and everyone here on site. Unfortunately, we had no success.”
According to a manager, the woman was stuck next to her bed, and was aware that her parents were stuck next to her. Later, a fire would have broke out, which would have caused the rescue workers to retreat. “We know she died.” According to the fire brigade, the rescuers are having a hard time with that.
“We feel this loss”
Such situations give them “a sense of defeat and loss,” says Lieutenant Obed Frometa. “After all, were humans, were not robots, were not machines. We feel this.” According to Frometa, some team members also have friends who may be among the victims. “It weighs on them, and it weighs on us.”
Burning, and smoke spreading through the debris made the rescue operation more difficult for days. The fire department had to dig, among other things, to help fight the fire, which put stability at risk. On Thursday, the searches had to be paused for a while for fear that the building would collapse further.
Some 145 people are missing, while the confirmed death toll is 18. Among them also Lucia Guara (10) and Emma Guara (4), which were identified Wednesday. On Thursday night, Magaly Elena Delgado (80) was identified as one of the victims.
Among the missing ones include Cassie Stratton. Her brother Ashley Dean told CNN that Stratton had still called her husband and said the pool was collapsing and the ground was trembling. She then started screaming loudly and the connection was disconnected, according to Dean. “Its really hard to know that those were my sisters last words.”