Tower collapse survivor describes hearing harrowing cries of trapped neighbours
A survivor of the Florida tower collapse has recalled the anguished cries of neighbours after tragedy struck.
At least nine people died when a condo collapsed in Miami on Thursday morning, with more than 150 people still unaccounted for.
Steve Rosenthal, 72, said he heard the "largest thunderclap" of his life when the building came down which was followed by terrified neighbours screaming: "Help me! Get me out!"
He told the New York Post: "Five seconds later, the bed and the room start shaking. I figure OK, I am dreaming.
"I heard people yelling: 'Help me! Help me! Get me out!'
"I know these people, these are my neighbours. It is pretty sad stuff."
"You can’t do anything because of all the concrete and everything has fallen down."
Rescue crews are still searching through the rubble in a desperate bid to find survivors of the Champlain Towers South collapse.
Steve is staying in a hotel set up for evacuees of a tragedy. He said it is a "miracle" he managed to escape with his life.
He said he thinks he would have died if he lived one unit over in the condo complex.
The survivor said: "I was scared. All of a sudden I am looking out the balcony, and … there were 40, 50, 60 fire trucks.
"It was insane. … They’re yelling up to us that ‘you need to evacuate, we’re going to come rescue you.’
"Thank God I am alive, I believe my parents were looking out for me."
The hunt for survivors continues as international crews arrived, including a team of engineers and search specialists from Israel.
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British mum Bhavna Patel, 38, her husband Vishal Patel, 42, and their one-year-old daughter Aishani are still among the missing.
The collapse took just 12 seconds to happen. The building contained 136 apartments and 55 of them collapsed, leaving piles of debris.
What caused the 40-year-old building to collapse remains unclear.
But it was undergoing a standard "recertification" process and required repairs, officials said.
An engineer's report from 2018 into the building flagged up "major structural damage" to the concrete platform beneath the swimming pool deck, as well as "abundant cracking" of columns, beams and walls" in the garage.
Experts who studied the area where the building stood said the land it was built on was sinking during the 1990s.
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