Surfside condo collapse: Missing woman screamed 'the ground is shaking' during final call with husband
Cassie Stratton stood on her balcony at about 1.30 am on Thursday morning, June 24, when the Champlain Towers South crumbled in Surfside, near Miami Beach
The collapse of the Miami condo block is an incident that sent shockwaves across the country. Even now, days after the building collapsed, hundreds of people are still unaccounted for. A woman who is feared to be dead following the collapse reportedly told her husband on the phone that the ground was "shaking" just moments before letting out a "blood-curdling scream" as the line went dead.
The latest reports reveal that Cassie Stratton stood on her balcony at about 1.30 am on Thursday morning, June 24, 2021, when the Champlain Towers South crumbled in Surfside, near Miami Beach. Her devastated family has hopes she will be pulled out of the wreckage alive, but these are quickly fading as there are reportedly 159 people still unaccounted for. Officials on Friday, June 25, 2021, reportedly confirmed that three people were pulled from the rubble overnight.
Cassie's heartbroken older sister Ashley Dean is desperate for answers, branding the apartment tower a "death trap". "We've never been able to see her again because she's in there, she's trapped in there," she reportedly told Sky News. "I have to be realistic; my baby is gone, my baby sister is gone. My sister told me about all kinds of water leaks and people on her roof with heavy equipment. I want to know how this could happen and who is responsible? She was living in a dream place but it was a death trap."
Dean also opened up about the unforgettable moment that her younger sister screamed while chatting to husband Michael Stratton on the phone as the building began to give way. "Suddenly she says, 'honey the pool is caving in, the pool is sinking to the ground'," Dean recounted.
"He said 'what are you talking about?' And she says, 'the ground is shaking, everything's shaking' and then she screamed a blood-curdling scream and the line went dead," she said. As per the latest reports, at least four people are dead as experts warned the Surfside condo had been sinking at an "alarming rate" since the 1990s.
Reports say that the first victim of the collapse to be pulled from the debris was 54-year-old Stacie Fang. She later died from her injuries after being taken to Aventura Hospital and Medical Center. Her son Jonah Handler was reportedly rescued by firefighters shortly after the apartment building collapse.
The mayor of Miami-Dade Daniella Levine Cara reportedly said on Friday that 120 people had been accounted for. Rescue teams are "concentrating resources" on areas where they hear sounds, officials said. Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Assistant Fire Chief Ray Jadallah told reporters that crews heard sounds in the rubble overnight. "We are listening for sounds, human sounds and tapping," he said.
A 2020 study by Shimon Wdowinski, a professor in the Department of Earth and Environment at Florida International University, had determined the condo building to be unstable, USA Today reported. According to the study, the building that was built in 1981, has been, since the 1990s sinking at an "alarming rate". Wdowinski had reportedly said the building was sinking at a rate of approximately two millimeters a year in the 1990s. "We saw this building had some kind of unusual movement," he said about the Champlain Towers South condominium.