Skip to main content

Miami tower collapse

Witnesses tell their harrowing stories

Giorgio Viera/AFP/Getty Images

Shortly after 1am on Thursday last week, a 12-storey beachfront apartment block in Miami collapsed to the ground, says The Washington Post. It took only 11 seconds. On the beach outside the tower was Dino Buisine – sitting on a chair, night fishing. “I heard a big ggggrrrh and then see this big ball of dust in the air,” he says. The first part of the building had collapsed. Buisine heard screams. Then the second chunk fell. “It looked like dominoes.”

Inside the tower, on the fifth floor, was Esther Gorfinkel, 88. I felt shaking, but assumed it was a storm, she says. Then she heard a voice on the building intercom: “Evacuate now.” She hurried to her door, but it was mangled. “Suddenly, she could see the sky from inside her building.” Eventually she escaped through an emergency exit. “She had left home with nothing but her keys and a lantern.”

Outside, Nicholas Balboa was walking his dog when he heard someone yell: “Don’t leave me.” It sounded like “a little boy”, he says. Rescue workers found the boy, 15, trapped under the rubble. His mother was pulled out too, but died in hospital. One week on there are still 150 people unaccounted for, and no explanation has been given as to why the tower fell. In Miami, Jews are lighting their Sabbath candles 18 minutes early, says Debra Golan, whose friend is among the missing. “Eighteen symbolises life in Judaism,” she says, and we want to save those lives. “It’s the little things we do” that preserve hope.

Read the full article here (paywall).