New Body Camera Video Shows Turmoil After the Florida Building Collapse
Calls of “help” and “over here” can be heard in the footage recorded by police officers who responded after much of the condominium complex in Surfside fell down, killing 98 people.,
A mother called to her son from a balcony. A woman yelled for help from a parking garage. And a security guard who called 911 said she was not sure how she made it out.
The harrowing scenes immediately after a 13-story beachfront condominium complex partially collapsed in Surfside, Fla., were caught on police body camera videos that the town released on Tuesday, providing a new look at the disaster that killed 98 people.
In the footage, made public several weeks after the release of almost two dozen 911 calls documenting the aftermath of the June 24 collapse, a police officer approaches a parking garage at Champlain Towers South and finds people asking for help.
“Are you OK?” the officer calls out. “Is anybody down there injured?”
Unable to reach the victims because of the wreckage, the officer runs around to another part of the parking garage in an attempt to find them.
From the wreckage, people are heard shouting “help” and “over here,” many of their cries muffled by the sound of wind, sirens and the officers’ movement.
Moments later, the officer finds a Miami-Dade County firefighter and asks how he can help. The firefighter asks the officer to secure a perimeter around the building.
“Nobody in. I don’t care who they are,” the firefighter says. “Keep everybody out.”
The footage then shows the officer urging people to stay away. “We don’t know if this is going to fall this way. I need you to go, please.”
In another of the three videos that were released, offering almost 53 minutes of overall footage, a man runs up to an officer as he appears to call up to his mother on a balcony. The man pleads with officials to help, appearing panicked and struggling to complete sentences.
“Please,” he says to the officers.
“We were told by rescue not even we can help her,” someone tells the man. “They’re coordinating something to help get everybody out.”
“I can’t let you go in there,” the person tells the man.
Only two people were pulled from the wreckage alive, both shortly after the collapse, and one of them later died at a hospital. It ultimately took more than a month to identify the final victim from one of the worst structural collapses in U.S. history.
The cause of the collapse is still under investigation, but three years ago a consultant found concerning evidence of “major structural damage” to the concrete slab below the pool deck and “abundant” cracking and crumbling of the columns, beams and walls of the parking garage under the building.
In some of the footage released on Tuesday, a security guard tells police officers how she heard several booms, and then called 911 when she saw that the building had collapsed.
“I don’t even know how I made it out,” she says.