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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

A year later, Surfside remembers 98 victims of condo collapse

Surfside, Fla. ( Associated Press) — At midnight a year ago, a 12-story oceanfront condo building in Surfside, Florida came down The rumble left 98 people dead, leaving a huge pile of rubble – one of the deadliest collapses in American history.

The Champlain Towers South disaster also turned into the largest emergency response that did not involve a hurricane in Florida history.

Its victims were being honored at on-ground events on Friday where, for two weeks last June and July, rescue teams from as far away as Mexico and Israel were found in Florida and local teams digging through piles. and descended to help find the victims.

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

Only two teenagers and a woman survived the fall and were pulled from the rubble, while others fled the part of the building that was initially standing.

Images of a survivor’s rescue Widely traveled, the fall offered a ray of hope right after, but the long, grueling search produced mostly disastrous results as families waited torturously to learn about the remains of their loved ones.,

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Among those missing in the accident was the 7-year-old daughter of a firefighter who helped with the search, later found dead along with her mother, aunt and grandparents; A woman whose cry for help was heard early in the morning but suddenly stopped; And two sisters, 4 and 11, were pulled from the rubble, which were so small that they were buried in the same coffin. A 12-year-old girl sat across the rubble to pray for her physician father, who was eventually found dead.

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 is under investigation by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, with the investigation entering a new phase this month to cut and drill concrete and steel. Champlain Towers South had a long history of maintenance problems, and shoddy construction techniques were used in the early 1980s. Other potential factors include sea level rise due to climate change and damage from saltwater intrusion.

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Pablo Langsfeld, the father of a 26-year-old lawyer who had married and moved into the building a few months before the collapse, said there would be no closure for him until the investigation was complete.

“It’s a nightmare that never ends,” Langsfeld told the Associated Press.

The place where the building stood has leveled off.

Although the investigation is expected to take years, a judge has approved a compensation settlement that totaled more than $1 billion. Thursday for the Victims

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

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

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

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