Missing woman called husband as Fla. condo collapsed, 11 dead and over 150 still missing


People add flowers to a memorial that has pictures of some of the missing from the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building in Surfside, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

People add flowers to a memorial that has pictures of some of the missing from the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building in Surfside, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 6:45 PM PT – Monday, June 28, 2021

Family members of missing victims have continued to hold onto hope as rescue crews maintain efforts to search through the rubble of the condo collapse in Florida. Reports on Monday explained a missing woman contacted her husband from the fourth floor balcony as the tragedy unfolded.

40-year old Cassandra Stratton told him there was a sinkhole where the pool used to be before the phone line went dead. A 2018 inspection report revealed structural damage and cracks under the pool and garage, which may have contributed to the ultimate collapse of the complex.

At a Monday news conference, authorities described the complex rescue efforts at the 12-story beachfront condos. The death toll from the collapse has risen to 11 and more than 150 people still remain missing.

Families awaiting word about loved ones were invited to watch the rescue operation first-hand. Search and rescue crews have continued to dig through the rubble at their own risk as family members watch and hold out hope.

“They witnessed a rescuer tumble 25 feet down the mound,” Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Assistant Chief Raide Jadallah explained. “That is a perfect example of the situation that we’re dealing with.”

Authorities have called it an extremely sensitive site and explained every time there is an action at the site, there is a reaction. When a body is recovered, a rapid DNA test is performed immediately and next of kin is contacted.

“We do it all with respect and integrity,” Freddy Ramirez of Miami-Dade Police department expressed. “It’s very emotional. This whole process has been emotional.”

The Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava (D-Fla.) expressed some family members have remained more optimistic than others and all there is to do is offer them support and information.

“Some are feeling more hopeful, some less hopeful, because we do not have definitive answers,” We give them the facts. We take them to the site. We show them the operation.”

As each day goes on, reports continue to emerge about the unstable land under the high-rise, including a 2020 study which showed the building was sinking into the ground as early as the 1990s.

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