Nicholas Balboa was walking his dog around midnight when he felt the ground shake, he told local media. The rumble was followed by a loud crash and debris as part of a condo complex collapsed in Surfside, Florida.
“I thought maybe a storm was rolling in, but about 30 seconds to a minute later, another large rumble. That’s when it kind of clicked to me that something wasn’t quite right,” Balboa told the News Nation Now network.
Balboa said it was “eerily quiet” as he and another person approached piles of concrete and metal, CNN reported. Police and first responders had not yet arrived when Balboa heard a scream.
Balboa said he spotted little fingers pop out through the broken concrete and heard a boy’s voice say, “Can somebody see me?”
Balboa said he climbed over rubble to reach the boy, later identified as Jonah Handler.
“He was just saying, ‘Please don’t leave me, please don’t leave me.’ I told him: ‘We’re not gonna go anywhere. We’ll be here,'” Balboa said.
Balboa said the boy evidently had been sleeping when the building collapsed, because he was found underneath a mattress and bed frame, News Nation Now reported. Balboa used the boy’s phone flashlight to get the attention of police officers, who eventually pulled him to safety.
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SOURCE: USA Today, Gabriela Miranda