NATIONAL NEWS

A year on, Surfside remembers 98 victims of condo collapse

Jun 24, 2022, 5:46 AM | Updated: Jun 25, 2022, 8:53 pm
A general view as search and rescue teams look for possible survivors and remains in the partially ...
A general view as search and rescue teams look for possible survivors and remains in the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building on June 30, 2021 in Surfside, Florida. Over 100 people are being reported as missing as the search-and-rescue effort continues. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

SURFSIDE, Fla. (AP) — A year ago in the middle of the night, a 12-story oceanfront condo building in Surfside, Florida, came down with a thunderous roar, leaving a giant pile of rubble and claiming 98 lives — one of the deadliest collapses in U.S. history.

The disaster at Champlain Towers South also turned into the largest emergency response that didn’t involve a hurricane in Florida history.

Its victims were being honored Friday at events on the ground where, for two weeks last June and July, rescue crews descended from elsewhere in Florida and from as far away as Mexico and Israel to help local teams dig through the pile and search for victims.

Friday’s agenda includes a private overnight gathering for families to light a torch. First Lady Jill Biden is expected to speak at a public event organized by the town of Surfside.

Only two teenagers and a woman survived the fall and were pulled from the rubble, while others escaped from the portion of the building that initially remained standing.

Images of one survivor’s rescue traveled widely, offering a glimmer of hope right after the collapse, but the long, grueling search produced mostly devastating results as families torturously waited only to learn about the remains of their loved ones.

Those missing in the collapse included the 7-year-old daughter of a firefighter who helped in the search, later found dead with her mother, aunt and grandparents; a woman whose cries for help were heard in the early hours but suddenly stopped; and two sisters, 4 and 11, pulled from the rubble, who were so tiny they were buried in the same casket. A 12-year-old girl sat down to pray across the rubble for her physician father, who was ultimately 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 into 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 caused by climate change and damage caused by salt water intrusion.

Pablo Langesfeld, the father of a 26-year-old lawyer who had married and moved to the building a few months before the collapse, said that for him closure will not come until that investigation is completed.

“This is a nightmare that never ends,” Langesfeld told The Associated Press.

The site where the building stood has been swept flat.

Although the investigation is expected to take years, a judge approved a compensation settlement topping $1 billion Thursday for the victims.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman praised the dozens of lawyers involved, and a woman who lost her daughter called them heroes in black robes and business suits.

Hanzman said the compensation deal was extraordinary in its scope and speed.

“This settlement is the best we can do. It’s a remarkable result,” he said.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

A bus driver fills up at a gas station in Brooklyn on August 11, 2022 in New York City. While fuel ...
Associated Press

Explainer: Why gas prices are falling

U.S. consumers are breathing a bit easier now that gasoline prices have come down from record levels, but pump prices are still high, and the two-month slide could be nearing an end.
1 day ago
Firefighters at Ireland's Four Courts pub and restaurant in Arlington, Virginia after a vehicle cra...
Paradise Afshar, CNN

At least 16 people injured after vehicle crashes into Virginia pub, police say

At least 16 people were injured on Friday after a vehicle crashed into an Arlington, Virginia pub and caused a structure fire, police said.
1 day ago
(KSL TV)...
SETH BORENSTEIN AP Science Writer

Hot summer nights: US in July sets new record for overnight warmth

America sizzled through some hot nights last month, enough to make history.
1 day ago
SAN ANSELMO, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 12:  In this photo illustration a bottle of Johnson & Johnso...
Associated Press

J&J to end sales of baby powder with talc globally next year

Johnson & Johnson is pulling baby powder containing talc worldwide next year after it did the same in the U.S. and Canada amid thousands of lawsuits claiming it caused cancer.
1 day ago
In this still image from video, author Salman Rushdie is taken on a stretcher to a helicopter for t...
JOSHUA GOODMAN Associated Press

Author Salman Rushdie stabbed on lecture stage in New York

Salman Rushdie, whose novel "The Satanic Verses" drew death threats from Iran in the 1980s, has been stabbed in the neck and abdomen by a man who rushed the stage as the author was about to give a lecture in western New York.
1 day ago
Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the American Freedom Tour at the Austin Convention...
LINDSAY WHITEHURST Associated Press

Timeline: Events leading up to FBI search of Trump’s home

The FBI search of former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate has already sent reverberations across the country even as new details emerge about what federal agents were looking for in the investigation into whether he took classified records from the White House to his Florida residence.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
cyber security through multi factor authentication setup...
Les Olson IT

How multi factor authentication setup helps companies stay safe

Multi factor authentication (MFA) setup is an important security measure that every company should implement for their workers. It’s also wise to install it for your personal and home accounts.
...
Lighting Design

Check out these stunning lamps with stained glass shades

Lamps with stained glass shades are statement pieces that are more than simply aesthetic. They also meet a functional requirement: to light up a room.
Address Bar of internet browser shows internet access...
AARP Utah

Utah voters 50+ support increased access to Internet

The AARP surveyed Utah voters aged 50 plus about internet access and if they support the expansion of broadband, especially in rural areas currently lacking it.
A year on, Surfside remembers 98 victims of condo collapse