Angela Gonzalez and her daughter fell down four floors as the building collapsed while they were in their home on the ninth floor.
Angela Gonzalez had no idea about the tragedy that was going to befall them a little after midnight on June 24, 2021, when she was at home with her husband and younger daughter on the ninth floor of their beachside condo, Champlain Towers South at 8777 Collins Avenue, Florida. The building was constructed in 1981 and its due date for the 40-year recertification was coming up when it partially collapsed. 147 people are missing and 18 people have been confirmed dead [at the time of publication] so far, according to Reuters.
When disaster struck, the brave mother and her 16-year-old daughter, Devon, raced to escape from the 9th floor, but it suddenly gave way, according to CBS Miami. They fell down four floors, and the impact resulted in Angela breaking her pelvis. Angela may have lost her home when the building crumbled to the floor, but she was determined to not lose her daughter, too. Despite the injury, the woman not only managed to pull herself out of the rubble, but she also got Devon out.
The mother and daughter, a high school volleyball player, were taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital for treatment, where Angela had to be put in a medically induced coma and had a lacerated liver and injuries to her hip, pelvis, and knees, the New York Times reported. Devon, meanwhile, required surgery for a fractured leg. Unfortunately, Devon's dad, Edgar, a legal professional in Miami-Dade, is among the people that have still been unaccounted for.
Condo Collapse: Despite Broken Pelvis After 4-Story Fall, Mom Pulls Daughter Out Of Rubble https://t.co/rQx6fRtiLo— CBS4 Miami (@CBSMiami) June 25, 2021
The couple also had another daughter, Taylor, who was not in the building when it collapsed. Their family dog, Daisy, is also missing. "Wasn’t something that I thought I would come down to this, I guess," Lisa Melencial, a family friend said. "But pick up the pieces, trying to figure out how to make this work, how to make this better than what it is. Even though it’s a tragic scenario. I just want prayers and just the best for her and her family."
Melencial added, “Hope for the best. Everybody just give prayers. Everybody else’s families or any colleagues or friends that were in the incidents, I wish you prayers, thoughts… And I hope everybody gets well.”
Devon's aunt, Adriana Gonzalez Chi, said she told her brother numerous times that the condo did not feel safe, especially because there were frequent complaints about leaks and mold. “About a month ago I was standing on the balcony and saying, ‘This is not safe,’” she said. “I looked at my niece and said, ‘If you feel the building tremble, run.’”
Surveillance video captures the collapse of a 13-story condo tower outside Miami last week, showing how the southern side of the structure crumbles. Watch our annotated video. https://t.co/HZNZz1XCem pic.twitter.com/7Fhh5DEEOB— The New York Times (@nytimes) June 28, 2021
"She lost consciousness and was under some rubble, and was banging on metal for them to hear her,” Ms. Gonzalez Chi said of her niece. “And her mom must have been nearby,” she said of Angela Gonzalez, a psychologist who works with children who have suffered trauma.
A GoFundMe page has been organized by the volleyball community and Devon's coach, Ashley Woods, to support the Gonzalez family during their time of need. "This family is very close-knit and the Champlain tragedy has been catastrophic for them and for so many others," the description on the page read. It continued, "They are the type of family to roll up their sleeves and do whatever is asked to help anyone in a time of need or crisis. We want to show them how much we care and love them back."
Devon had to undergo surgery for her leg and has a long road of recovery ahead of her. In a recent update, Woods shared that Devon's surgery went well and that she was doing great. "Deven started therapy today and handled it like a rock star!" the update read. "Angela is responding and is fighting." Taylor is now taking care of her mother and sister at the hospital. There is still no news about Edgar.
Cover Image Source: GoFundMe/Champlain Towers Tragedy- Gonzalez Family Support