Ashley has come to the Beach to be closer to the little sister she fears is lost forever. Cassie Stratton lived on the fourth floor of the Champagne Towers South. This is what remains.
She was on the phone with her husband. And then it was like, Honey, the pools caving in the polls, thinking in. And he’s like, What are you talking about? And she said, The polls. It’s shaking in the ground. The ground is shaking. Everything is shaking. And then she screamed a depth curdling screen, and the phone hung up. And we’ve never been able to find her ever again. I got to be realistic. My sisters, my sister is dead.
They’ve never experienced anything like this in Florida. Building collapses of this nature simply don’t happen here. Rescue his face with an almost insurmountable challenge. Sifting through debris with buckets. They’re using microphones to listen for noise. Any hint that someone could still be alive in this rack of concrete and twisted metal. So far, the death toll is for most expected to rise far higher, with 159 people still unaccounted for.
This was a high-end Department block on the Atlantic Coast, and it was the units facing the beach and the ocean that was most devastatingly affected. Survivors were mere feet away from auto tragedy.
Albert and his family know how lucky they are.
I look to the left and the unit directly next to us is sheared off. It’s about half a unit left. I look directly ahead of us, which is where the elevators are, and it’s just a whole we got to the blue area. We had to do another, like a three-foot jump. We were able to make it there. And then at that point is where I think we all looked back and saw the actual damage. We had no idea.
Families of the missing are questioning whether this tragedy had been foreshadowed. I’ve been told of flooding in the building, of construction work and sink holes. But the Mayor says it’s not the time for a portioning blame.
Do you promise them that someone will be held accountable for what happened?
Well, I promise that we’ll find out what happened. I promise that absolutely. There is no doubt. But right now, the task is to get people out of their safety.
The recovery operation here is complex, and it’s likely to take weeks. With anger simmering beneath the surface, the search for answers and accountability will stretch far beyond that.