SURFSIDE, Fla. (NewsNation Now) — As loved ones continue to hold out hope that their relatives will be rescued alive, some of those who managed to escape the collapse in Florida are speaking out about the moment the building came crashing down.
“I heard the loudest thunder clap I ever heard in my life, times 100” said Steve Rosenthal, one of the survivors.
Rosenthal, 72, said he heard his neighbors screaming for help as he waited for an hour to be rescued from his seventh-floor balcony.
“Open up the hallway, can’t see a thing, just toxic dust, just smacks me in the face,” Rosenthal said.
Firefighters carried him down in a cherry picker, leaving bruises on his arms.
“You have certain events that happen in your life, like if you were at 9/11 you’re going to remember that forever, this is something I’ll remember. To me, this is a mini 9/11, Miami style,” Rosenthal said.
The Champlain Tower was his home for two decades. When it came crumbling down, so did everything he owned.
“Everything,” Rosenthal said. “I got nothing.”
His next-door neighbors are confirmed dead and nearly 150 of his friends and neighbors are still missing.
“As sad as this is, it’s going to be hard to find some people alive right now,” Rosenthal said. “It would truly, truly be a miracle. It’s a miracle I’m alive right now.”
As new information has emerged about the warnings and red flags about structural damage, Rosenthal is among the first survivors to sue the condo association.
“I’m never going to forget it,” Rosenthal said. “How can you forget this? “