Surfside condo collapse: First-responder video shows devastation of Champlain Towers collapse up close

·2-min read

Newly released first-responder video shows the devastating aftermath of the 24 June Champlain Towers South collapse in South Florida, which killed at least 94 people with 22 still unaccounted for.

The video, recorded from a high vantage point above the collapse site in the city of Surfside, shows rescue crews unearthing a body, which news media blurred to protect the deceased’s privacy.

Another clip captures an emergency official in a state of shock, telling a colleague over the radio, “This is huge, humongous”.

An unnamed source working search-and-rescue operations shared the video with WPLG to show “we’re still trying to 200 per cent to find the bodies so people can go on with their lives”.

“It’s sad, grief, this could’ve been one of my family members,” the source told the station. “Too much tragedy in one spot. Too many dead people.”

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The trove of footage also showed family members of those believed to be in the collapse worriedly asking law enforcement what was going on.

“Is she OK? Is she OK?” a man repeatedly asks officers in one video.

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“Right now, we were told by rescue not even we can help right now,” an officer says in response. “They’re coordinating something to help get everybody out.”

In addition to the deep trauma of those who lost friends and loved ones in the tragedy, sifting through the more than 14 million pounds of concrete and debris at the site has taken a heavy toll on first-responders.

A team of professionally trained golden retrievers was brought to the site in July to offer comfort to search-and-rescue personnel.

The remaining portions of the condominium that had remained standing after the collapsed were demolished in early July. Since the building came tumbling down, authorities have discovered a long history of neglected maintenance at the site, which likely began to come tumbling town when a concrete pool deck above the garage floor imploded.

Experts have concluded there likely wasn’t a sinkhole beneath the building. They are still investigating whether sea-level rise and the climate crises had a hand in bringing down the seaside tower, as flooding rise and fell inside the building with the tide, and salt water was regularly pumped out of the garage, which could have exacerbated rust in support beams on the building.

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