The first deceased victim of the Surfside, Florida, condominium collapse was identified as the mother of a teenage boy rescued from the rubble, NBC 6 South Florida reported.
An oceanfront condo partially collapsed in Surfside killing at least four people and trapping approximately 159 people at around 2:00 a.m. Thursday. Stacie Fang, the mother of 15-year-old Jonah Handler, was the first victim authorities identified to have died from the incident Friday, NBC 6 South Florida reported.
Fang died at the Aventura Hospital Thursday shortly after arrival Thursday, according to NBC 6 South Florida. Her family expressed their gratitude for the “outpour of sympathy” and asked to respect their privacy on behalf of Handler in a statement Friday, according to the outlet.
“There are no words to describe the tragic loss of our beloved Stacie. The members of the Fang and Handler family would like to express our deepest appreciation for the outpouring of sympathy, compassion and support we have received. The many heartfelt words of encouragement and love have served as a much needed source of strength during this devastating time,” the family said. “On behalf of Stacie’s son, Jonah, we ask you now to please respect our privacy to grieve and to try to help each other heal.”
Footage showed firefighters rescuing Fang’s son, who is reportedly in stable condition, from the rubble Thursday morning, NBC 6 South Florida reported. (RELATED: Harris Has To Remind Biden About Fatal Miami Building Collapse)
PULLED FROM RUBBLE: A young boy was pulled from the rubble where a beachfront condo tower collapsed in a Miami-area town. The collapse trapped residents in rubble and twisted metal and sent a cloud of debris throughout the neighborhood.
— WESH 2 News (@WESH) June 24, 2021
Nicolas Balboa, a witness of the collapse, assisted the first responders in saving Handler as he heard the high school student repeatedly beg his rescuers “please don’t leave me,” according to an interview with CNBC, NBC 6 South Florida reported.
“As I moved closer, I could hear somebody making noise and yelling. I started to get close to the building and climbed into the debris, and I could hear him saying that he was over there, and I could see his arm sticking up through the debris and waving his hand,” Balboa said Thursday evening. “He was just saying, ‘Please don’t leave me, please don’t leave me.'”
Handler is a sophomore and athlete at Monsignor Edward High School in Miami Gardens, NBC 6 South Florida reported.
First responders saved a mother and her child trapped in the rubble, but had to amputate the woman’s leg on the spot in order to free her, the Miami Herald reported.