A resident of the collapsed 12-story condo building in Surfside, Florida, said he’s likely only alive because his girlfriend insisted he stay at her apartment on the night of the disaster.
Erick de Moura said he was “right at the door” of Fernanda Figueiredo’s home and about to leave last Wednesday evening when “for some reason she just asked me to stay because one of her kids wasn’t home, so we were going to have a little date.”
“Usually on a Wednesday we don’t have that chance to spend time together,” de Moura told CNN’s “New Day” on Tuesday.
De Moura, from Brazil, initially pushed back on the idea, saying he “wanted to take a shower and sleep comfortably” at his own place on the 10th floor of Champlain Towers South, which he’d rented for three years.
His clothes were soaking wet from retrieving a soccer ball from a canal. It ended in the water after the couple had watched Brazil’s Copa America game against Colombia with friends. He also had a personal training appointment in the morning.
“But she kept insisting for me to stay,” said de Moura.
He eventually relented.
De Moura woke up at 5.30 a.m. to a string of notifications on his cellphone and a message from a supervisor at the building, Rochelle, asking if he was alright.
She told him the tower had collapsed and sent him a picture of the rubble.
“So you’re half awake, half asleep and somebody tells you your home collapsed. A building in Miami, you just don’t believe it,” said De Moura.
“I’m from Brazil and it happens once in a while. It wouldn’t be such a surprise,” he said. “But here, we brag about the law and how America is supposed to be fair and in an area like this … how could you imagine something like this happening?”
“He could be there,” said Figueiredo.
At least 12 people are confirmed dead and 149 others remain unaccounted for as the search for survivors in the wreckage enters its seventh day.
Watch the full interview here:
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