Incredible moment boy is pulled from rubble of collapsed building

·3-min read

Incredible vision has shown the moment a young boy was rescued from the rubble after he cried out for help following a building collapse in Florida.

Rescue crews are still sifting through the rubble looking for survivors after a large section of the 12-storey Champlain Towers South condominium in Surfside collapsed on Thursday.

Officials say 159 people are still missing, while four people have been confirmed dead.

Among those who have been rescued is an unidentified boy, whose desperate calls for help were heard by bystander Nicholas Balboa.

Mr Balboa told CBS Miami he could feel the ground shake as the building collapsed, initially thinking it could have been thunder.

Search and Rescue personnel work after the partial collapse of the 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building in Florida. Source: Sipa USA
Search and Rescue personnel work after the partial collapse of the 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building in Florida. Source: Sipa USA

He ran to the site of the collapse and could hear a young boy calling out among the debris. 

"What he was actually saying was, 'can you see my hand, can you see my hand' and I could see a little hand sticking up waving, moving his fingers trying to get our attention," Mr Balboa said.

While trying to get the attention of a rescuer, Mr Balboa and another person made their way to the boy through the rubble.

He said the boy pleaded with them not to leave him, so Mr Balboa and the other person stayed with him until he was rescued.

The boy, who appeared to have avoided any major injuries, has not been identified and there is no word on what happened to his mother, CBS Miami reported.

Nicholas Balboa (left) heard a child calling out for help amongst the rubble. Source: CBS Miami
Nicholas Balboa (left) heard a child calling out for help amongst the rubble. Source: CBS Miami

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava told reporters dozens of people still remained unaccounted for some 18 hours after the collapse, though some may not have been in the building at the time.

Another 120 individuals whose whereabouts were initially unknown have since been located and "declared safe," she said.

A fire official said earlier that 35 people were evacuated from the portion of the high-rise left standing, and response teams using trained dogs and drones pulled two individuals from the rubble - one of them was dead.

According to officials, the complex was built in 1981 and was going through a recertification process requiring repairs, with another building under construction on an adjacent site.

However, according to CNN, officials have not stated what the cause of the collapse was.

Inside the complex are more than 130 units, about 80 of which were occupied.

“These are very difficult times, and things are going to get more difficult as we move forward,” Miami-Dade Police Director Freddy Ramirez said.

Raide Jadallah, an assistant Miami-Dade County fire chief, said that while listening devices placed on and in the wreckage had picked up no voices, they had detected possible banging noises, giving rescuers hope some are alive. 

Rescuers were tunnelling into the wreckage from below, going through the building’s underground parking garage.

With Reuters and the Associated Press

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