SURFSIDE, Fla. (NBC) – New videos from witnesses shows water pouring into the garage of the Surfside condominium building moments before a section of it dropped to the ground, as well as the immediate aftermath of the collapse.
Roberto and Adriana Castillero of Tampa tell WTVJ they were staying at a hotel near the Champlain Towers South beachfront condo and said they were sitting by the hotel’s pool when they felt the ground shake.
Adriana grabbed her cellphone and started to record a TikTok when they saw the building gushing water.
“You could see all the rock, and then the pipe, the pipe with a lot of water coming out,” Roberto Castillero said. “My wife said, ‘Oh baby, I think that building is gonna collapse.’ I said, ‘Are you crazy? Honey, this is America; that’s not gonna collapse, don’t worry about it.'”
The couple said they stopped filming and saw people come out to their balconies.
“They’re looking on the bottom, but when they’re looking at the bottom everything was fine, because everything was in the garage,” Roberto Castillero said. “People on the balconies, they didn’t see.”
He said they stopped filming and a couple minutes later, the building collapsed.
“The next thing, we are running for our lives — that was something — I almost died just because I heard the, it’s like a bomb, you know, like an explosion, a big explosion,” Roberto Castillero said.
Moments after the collapse, the couple filmed the building with the collapsed wing in a pile of rubble and rescue workers responding.
“The building was not there; that’s when I realized that those people are missing,” Roberto Castillero said. “I remember that I couldn’t hear anything, you don’t hear any voice. It was very quiet and a lot of smoke, dust.”