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Miami condo collapse survivor, 15, who lost mom in disaster meets hero rescuers who pulled him from rubble


A TEEN boy who survived the Miami condo collapse has met the first responders who pulled him from the rubble.

Jonah Handler, 15, was rescued hours after part of Champlain Towers South collapsed on June 24 while his mom Stacie Fang died.

GoFundMe

Survivor Jonah Handler met first responders – weeks after he was pulled from the rubble[/caption]

Facebook

Jonah Handler was pulled from the wreckage while mom Stacie Fang died after the condo collapsed[/caption]

Images that were uploaded to a GoFundMe page capture the reunion between the teen and the rescuers, MailOnline reports.

His father Neil Handler said: “The first time we saw these nameless heroes were on the newsreels as they were pulling my boy out of the rubble.”

He said Jonah is recovering from his injuries but warned “the road is long” without Stacie.

Neil said his family has “no words” to thank the first responders who pulled the teen boy from the wreckage.

He said: “We have also been overwhelmed and humbled by all those who have supported us with donations, food, clothing, and care (physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual) during this unimaginable time in his and our lives.”

The first responders have not been named in the images.

Jonah is one of few survivors of the condo collapse and dramatic footage showed the moment he was pulled from the rubble.

‘DEVASTATING INJURIES’

The teen was hoisted onto a firefighter’s shoulders as rescue workers carried him to safety.

Nicholas Balboa, of Arizona, was walking his dog and helped responders pull the teen from the debris, WPLG-TV reported.

The images come as the teen’s family filed a lawsuit on July 8.

It states: “Stacie and Jonah landed several floors below and miraculously were still alive.”

The 15-year-old was pulled from the rubble but was left with “devastating injuries”, according to the court documents cited by MailOnline.

The lawsuit adds that he was left “physically, emotionally and psychologically permanently injured”.

It stated: “They free-fell to what they thought was certain death.”

At least 97 people are dead following last month’s condo collapse.

Six more victims were identified on Thursday meaning 92 of the 97 have been identified.

Miami-Dade County officials have been able to account for at least 240 people connected to the building.

But, identifying victims has become “increasingly difficult”, according to the AP.

‘WE GOTTA GET OUT’

More than 26million pounds of debris and concrete have been removed as recovery efforts continue.

Harrowing 9/11 calls have since been released painting a picture of chaos and panic.

One caller said: “Oh my God! The whole building has collapsed.

“We’ve gotta get out. Hurry up, hurry up. There’s a big explosion,” a separate caller said. “There’s a lot of smoke. I can’t see anything. We gotta go. I can’t see nothing but smoke (sic).”

The cause of the collapse remains unknown but several officials have warned about structural damage to the 40-year-old condo.

One woman who called 911 said she could see a large depression near the building’s swimming pool. Investigators are now eyeing issues with the concrete surrounding the pool as a possible cause.

She said: “I woke up because I was hearing some noise. I couldn’t understand what was happening. I looked outside and I saw the patio area sinking down. The pool area started sinking down,”

“There are many parts of the building that went down. The building just went into a sinkhole. There will be many, many people dead,”

Warnings about a cracked pool deck were flagged 25 years ago, according to reports.

A newly unearthed 1996 construction permit has revealed the building’s pool deck had years-long problems.

Rob Sommer of Western Waterproofing Company of America wrote a letter to Surfside building officials about a “concrete structural repair,” the Miami Herald reported.


Repairs were needed just 15 years after the apartment block was built in 1981.

Following the condo tragedy, Miami-Dade mayor Daniella Levine Cava ordered an audit of all buildings over 40 years old.

At least two buildings nearby were ordered to evacuate.

GoFundMe

Jonah’s dad said the teen boy is ‘recovering’ from his injuries[/caption]

NBC6

Firefighters hauled Jonah from the rubble[/caption]

AFP

Jonah Handler was one of the first survivors to be pulled from the rubble[/caption]

 

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