Meet the woman who was buried alive under the rubble of the Miami Surfside building, which was heard moaning for hours

Teresa Velasquez is a Surfside meltdown victim who has just been identified as the woman whose lifeguards listened for hours without being able to save her

Next June 24 will be one year since the collapse South Champlain Towerin Surfside Township, Miami Dade County, where 98 people died. Among the endless horrific stories drawn from this tragedy, so far there has been a mystery: Who is the woman who survived for hours under the rubble without saving a life?

As soon as the first rescuers reached the scene of the tragedy, they began to remove the rubble. But with most of the 12-storey buildings housing 36 apartments collapsing, the situation has not been easy.

Several firefighters said they heard a woman moaning for hours under the rubble. But they couldn’t save herThey were buried alive in a place they could not reach for several days. When the rubble was finally completely removed, many of the victims had not been identified, the operation had to be run with DNA tests to try to reconstruct what had happened.

Prosecutors' lawyers confirmed to AFP that survivors and relatives of victims of a building collapse in Surfside, Florida, which left 98 people dead last year, will receive at least $997 million after a court settlement reached on Wednesday.
Prosecutors’ lawyers confirmed to AFP that survivors and relatives of victims of a building collapse in Surfside, Florida, which left 98 people dead last year, will receive at least $997 million after a court settlement reached on Wednesday.

Almost a year later, it is known from a note published by the Miami-Dade Fire Department that they finally determined who was the victim who survived for hours under the rubble, and whose voice was heard by several rescuers: It was about Teresa Velasquez, a 36-year-old woman who was visiting South Florida.

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Velazquez lived in Los Angeles, where she worked as an executive for an event company live nation. That night in June 2021 he was in Surfside visiting his parents who lived there and also died during the building collapse.

His body was recovered on July 8, 2021but only now has it been confirmed that it was the same person who heard the rescuers complain. The bodies of her parents, Angela and Julio Velasquez, were recovered, and their bodies were identified a few days before Teresa’s.

The rescuers were looking for a female voice. Many of us listened to it for several hours, until later we stopped listening to it‘ He told the press Alan Kominskychief of the Miami-Dade Fire Department in the weeks after the crash.

Photo of the partially collapsed building
Photo of the partially collapsed building

Kominsky explained at that time that for several days they searched for the body of that woman, which many had heard of, but, unfortunately, they could not identify under the rubble.

According to the information disclosed in 11-page note Signed by the Miami-Dade County Deputy Fire Chief, Ray GadallahAfter more than two months of extensive interviews with rescuers and experts who analyzed the wreckage, they were finally able to determine that the voice many heard was that of Teresa Velasquez.

Around 6:30 a.m. on June 24, 2021, about five hours after the collapse, there were first signs that someone might be alive under the rubble because trained dogs detected the scent of a live victim. Minutes later, the first testimonies were reported of a female voice coming from under the rubble above the area that was the tower’s parking lot.

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The report notes that no one was able to hold a conversation with the woman, but slight groans were heard. No one knows at this point if the woman is conscious or not.

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Freddie Dawson

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