A 15-year-old survivor of the deadly Florida condo collapse got a chance to thank the first responders who helped save his life.
Jonah Handler, who was seen in dramatic footage being pulled from the ruins of Champlain Towers South in Surfside after the deadly June 24 catastrophe is shown in new images standing with his real-life heroes, WTVJ-TV reported Thursday.
The reunion comes as the search for victims in the pile is drawing to a close.
“The first time we saw these nameless heroes was on the newsreels as they were pulling my boy out of the rubble,” the teen’s father, Neil Handler, wrote on a GoFundMe page.
“Now with God’s grace we stand next to each other sharing thanks and hope,” he wrote. “Jonah is recovering from his physical injuries but as we all know, bittersweet is the long road ahead without his mom Stacie in our lives.”
Photos posted on the page show the teen smiling with a handful of first responders, who are not identified in the pics.
One of his rescuers was identified in the past as Nicolas Balboa, a visitor from Arizona who was walking his dog near the tower when it collapsed and helped first responders pull the boy from the debris, WPLG-TV has reported.
Jonah Handler was the first person pulled after the collapse. His mother, Stacie Fang, 54, was also rescued and taken to a local hospital, but died from her injuries.
Fang became the first victim to be identified.
The family is among more than a dozen who have filed lawsuits stemming from the collapse, with the number expected to increase.
Word of the teenager’s reunion with his rescuers comes as the recovery mission to pull victims out of the rubble is nearing an end, WPTV News said Thursday.
Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said 97 people have now been confirmed dead in the Champlain ruins with eight still unaccounted for.
But seven of the bodies have yet to be identified, leaving open the possibility that only one person is still missing in the rubble, the station said.