The search for victims of the collapsed apartment complex in the US state of Florida continues today, while hopes of finding survivors shrink. The Miami building partially collapsed last week.
Eleven bodies have been recovered, and 150 people are still missing. One of them was on the phone with her husband when the disaster happened. “She was the nicest, most vibrant person you can imagine.”
Even after five days, it is still unclear whether all the missing persons were in the building during the collapse. The twelve-storey complex had 156 homes, part of which was not permanently inhabited. Miami holds its breath but continues to reckon with the worst-case scenario: that the bodies of all 150 missing persons will soon be removed from the rubble.
Presumably, most residents of the disaster flat were surprised in their sleep by the collapse. However, Cassondra “Cassie” Billedeau-Stratton, 40, also woke up with a start and warned her husband over the phone that something strange was happening in her apartment. “I was in Washington and on the phone with her when it all happened, about 1:30 a.m.,” her husband Michael told NBC News.
Stratton was standing on her balcony when the pool began to collapse below her. When Michael asked what she meant by that, she said, “The ground is shaking, everything is shaking.” Then, according to her sister, she let out a desperate cry, and the connection was suddenly broken. The woman has not been heard from since. Relatives and friends are close to despair. They pin all their hopes on the rescue teams who search for victims day and night.