Sometimes, the line between life and death is as seemingly random as an ocean or street view, an odd or even unit.
An estimated 126 residents, mostly from the oceanside units, are among the missing nine days after an oceanfront condominium tower collapsed. Many others barely escaped.
With the elevator collapsed, the survivors descended the cracked stairwell that had separated from the wall, along the way helping neighbors they met for the first time and others they'd known for years, all “joined through this tragedy for forever now,” says Albert Aguero, who helped an 88-year-old stranger to safety.
The disaster killed at least 20 people, with more than 120 still missing, also rendered dozens of people homeless. Many lost cars, too, buried in the building’s underground parking garage.
Though most who managed to flee to safety lived in parts of the building that remain standing, they have little hope of returning to reclaim clothing, computers, jewelry and sentimental possessions they left behind.
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