MIAMI – From his balcony, Maurice Watchman complains about the slowdown in search operations, without directly looking at the ruins 12-storey building collapsing on the site, Near Miami, so far four have died and 159 are missing.
“This is not a rescue operation,” he says.
The sense of anger is shared by other locals, who question whether neglect played a role in the surfacing tragedy. It is already known that three years before the collapse, a consultant discovered dangerous evidence “Major structural damage” Concrete slab below the pool deck and “numerous” cracks and collapse of columns, beams and walls of the parking lot under the building.
Local officials say hundreds of firefighters and rescue workers were mobilized to find survivors amid the rubble of the Sampline Towers building, where an unseen area collapsed into the sea early Thursday morning.
Teams operate between piles of concrete and iron, while firefighters drill through walls in hopes of finding survivors. But as the hours go by, the patience and anger of the relatives of the missing increase.
“It’s here, we’ve been told there are hundreds of workers trying to pull people out and rescue them. It’s not a rescue operation, it’s nothing,” Watchman said.
Missing his best friend Syme Rosenberg, his son and daughter-in-law.
Accompanied by Rosenberg’s son – in – law Mike Salberg, the watchman left New York a few hours after the tragedy and rented an apartment in a building next to the Sampline Towers.
“My uncle’s apartment is right there, and that violet column is across the screen door,” Sulberg said, pointing to what the second floor of the building was. “None of the rescued people tried to remove the debris, even with their own hands, trying to remove the people.
He believes there are survivors trapped in air bubbles.
Officials said they understood the families’ frustrations.
“We publish information twice a day about the details of the activities,” Miami-Date County Mayor Daniel Levine Kawa said Friday night.
“There is still hope,” he said, adding that the victims, in this type of disaster, were found alive “a week later” in the accidents.
Janet Aguero, 46, was with her husband and two children on the 11th floor of the building, on the street side, at dawn. She got up with what appeared to be an “earthquake” and went downstairs with her family to escape.
“I’m angry to think this could have been avoided,” he told AFP.
In the days before the collapse, he said he heard noises and “some strange sounds” while building work was going on.
“I’m lucky to survive, but my family can see what others are doing now. It’s fascinating to see them,” he added. “I want answers. Families deserve it, and if it is ignored someone has to take responsibility.