A woman living in the Miami apartment building that collapsed on Thursday let out “a death-curdling scream” as the disaster unfolded.
Cassie Stratton was chatting on the phone to her husband Michael at about 1:30 am on Thursday, June 24, when she said “Honey the pool is caving in, the pool is sinking to the ground”.
Then, with a horrifying scream, the line went dead.
Cassie is one of nearly 160 people who remain unaccounted for after the Champlain Towers South building suddenly crumbled into rubble.
Her sister Ashley Dean related the conversation between Cassie and Michael to reporters: “it was a little after one in the morning and she said ‘Honey, the pool’s caving in… the pool’s sinking…’ and he’s like ‘What are you talking about?’ and she said ‘The pool…it’s sinking [into] the ground. The ground is shaking – everything’s shaking!’.
“And then," Ashley added, "she screamed a death-curdling scream, and then the phone hung up an we’ve never been able to find her ever again.”
Heavy rain and strong winds have been hampering rescue efforts, and concerns are being raised about the stability of the remaining structure.
The cause of the building collapse remains unexplained. Ashley said: "My sister told me about all kinds of water leaks and people on her roof with heavy equipment".
Conspiracy theorists have been quick to capitalise on the tragedy, with some linking it to the mysterious death of British-born software tycoon John McAfee.
An unverified screengrab of a tweet allegedly posted by McAfee earlier this month claiming he was storing a huge stash secret files at the doomed Miami apartment block has been circulating on Twitter.
The original tweet appears to have either been deleted or may have been falsified using image editing software.
The truth is more likely to relate to the building’s foundations, which could have been undermined by heavy rain, or possibly building work being undertaken on the doomed apartment block’s roof.
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