A Florida judge has approved the sale of the beachfront property where a collapsed Florida condominium once stood, with the proceeds going to victims – as emergency calls broadcast to the public show disbelief, the panic and confusion that unfolded on the night of the deadly disaster.
In a hearing, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman ordered the process to begin selling the South Champlain Towers site, which could bring in $ 100 million to $ 110 million, according to court records.
Hanzman’s decision came amid a series of lawsuits filed in the wake of the June 24 collapse, which left at least 95 dead and others still missing. A cause has yet to be identified, although there have been several previous warnings of major structural damage to the 40-year-old building.
The court-appointed receiver responsible for the finances of the condominium, attorney Michael Goldberg, said the judge wanted the sale to proceed quickly.
“He wants us to start exploring a potential sale,” Goldberg said of the judge in an email. “He said he wanted the land to be sold and the profits to go directly to the victims as soon as possible. “
Goldberg said the move doesn’t necessarily prevent a buyer from turning at least part of the site into a memorial, as some have advocated. Other survivors want the structure to be rebuilt so that they can return to it.
The judge expedited the lawsuits and allowed Goldberg to start paying the insurance money to victims and families.
Meanwhile, tapes were released by police of 911 calls made as the building collapsed in the early hours of June 24.
” Oh my God! The whole building collapsed! a caller told a dispatcher with the local Miami-Dade Police Department. The names of the appellants were not disclosed.
“We have to get out. Hurry up, hurry up. There is a big explosion, “said a second caller, adding,” There is a lot of smoke. I see nothing. We have to go. “
A cause has yet to be identified, although there have been several previous warnings of major structural damage to the 40-year-old building.
A caller, a woman, said she saw what appeared to be a large depression near the pool, which presented concrete issues that are being investigated.
“I woke up because I heard noise. I couldn’t figure out what was going on. I looked outside and saw the patio sink down. The pool started to collapse, ”the caller said, adding:“ Many parts of the building collapsed. The building has just entered a pit. There will be many, many deaths. “
At a press conference on Tuesday, Levine Cava said the number of people believed to be missing in the collapse had declined as authorities scrambled to identify all those linked to the building. The mayor said 14 people were still missing, including 10 victims whose bodies have been found but not yet identified – potentially leaving four more victims to be found and the eventual death toll is expected to be close to 100.